Day centres and other charities supporting vulnerable adults across Richmond are having to fight for their futures after grant funding was replaced by competitive bidding, opposition councillors have warned.

Existing services, such as Linden Hall in Hampton and Elleray Hall in Teddington, could close after the council said only one would be funded for community independent living services in each of four areas.

Councillor Stephen Knight, Liberal Democrat leader of the opposition, said details of the service specification were being kept secret because of claims of “commercial sensitivity” and had not been scrutinised by councillors.

Coun Knight said: “This is an extremely worrying time for all of the local charities that work with older people and vulnerable adults. The Tories are determined to impose their free-market ideology by forcing them into a wholly inappropriate competitive tendering exercise, even if this results in longstanding local charities losing their funding to large national providers which can submit a more professional bid.

“Charities tell me they are scared to speak out against this process, in case it is held against them in the funding process, and are being forced to see other local charities as competitors rather than partners with which to work.

“The council should be working in long-term partnerships with voluntary groups, not treating them as commercial contractors to be hired and fired.”

Richmond Council cabinet member for adults’ services and housing Councillor David Marlow said the council had thoroughly consulted the voluntary sector on the new process.

He said: “The new model will be a community independent living service which means it will provide a range of services to suit the varying needs of the community.

“Currently there are lots of specific services across the borough and it is difficult for residents to know where to go. The Community Independent Living Service will provide a clear point of access and allow services to be more fairly distributed.

“The successful bid will be contracted to ensure provision of a range of services and will be expected to subcontract services to other organisations. In times of financial hardship not only are we supporting the borough’s most vulnerable people, we are enhancing services and investing money wisely when most London Boroughs are cutting services.”


  • In light of the new process, members and volunteers at Elleray Hall, run by Teddington Older People’s Welfare Association, signed a petition supporting the continuation of Elleray Hall’s services.

In the introductory paragraph to the petition, a member of Elleray Hall Social Club said: “As you review the plans please consider the devastating effect your lack of support will have on today’s members.

“Innocent victims will be shunted from one place to another, the loneliness, physical disability and lack of confidence will be increased.

“Please give us your support and help us retain Elleray Hall social Club as a lifesaving venue where we can support each other in an amazing way whilst being cared for by dedicated staff and volunteers – chatting together, happy, a good example of companionship and harmony for the next generation.

“Topwa has been aware of these plans for more than two years and have had the opportunity for help and support in what they need to do to work in partnership with other local organisations in order to submit a successful bid within Teddington or Hampton.”