Councillors express hope that Heathrow could fund a new Colnbrook surgery

Parish councillors working exhaustively to bring a surgery back to Colnbrook say that Heathrow Airport has expressed interest in stepping in to provide funding.

The Heathrow Community Fund has shown interest in funding a new Colnbrook surgery

The Heathrow Community Fund has shown interest in funding a new Colnbrook surgery

While other options remain on the table, including hosting a new practice in the Vicarage Way Children’s Centre, it has emerged that Heathrow Airport’s philanthropic arm could step in to part-fund a new Colnbrook Surgery.

Last month’s closure did not mark the end of the two-year effort to keep a GP surgery in the village.  Determined parish councillors are leaving no stone unturned in their mission to find a new, long-term, option to bring a surgery back to Colnbrook.  Chair Cllr Bryant reported at the last meeting of the council’s Services Committee that “a lot of work by a lot of people has gone into this item and it has been taken up with MP Adam Afryie”.

Long serving councillor Peter Hood told his Parish Council colleagues of the possible help from Heathrow at the meeting.  He advised that Heathrow “continues to show an interest” in providing some funding towards a new building, and that the submission process is being looked into.

Cllr Hood continues to represent Colnbrook residents on the Local Focus Forum, the panel through which communities can raise issues and concerns directly with the airport, and has also cultivated relationships with key Heathrow personnel.  Following a bike ride through the parish last April with Heathrow’s CEO, John Holland-Kaye  described as “shocking” the impact of some airport-related operations and insisted he would do more to help.  One year on, however, there has been little evidence of any promised improvements. 

Cllr Hood suggested that the Parish Council look at matched funding as a new building, owned by the Parish and leased to Langley Health Centre, would generate an income.

A meeting was also due to discuss the possibility of dividing off part of the Vicarage Way Children’s Centre.  It is believed that the building, owned by Slough Borough Council, could also accommodate a GP surgery.

Chair Cllr Bryant also commented on idea of a temporary surgery adjacent to the Village Hall, an idea that NHS England has expressed support for as an interim measure until a permanent solution is provided.

The Heathrow Community Fund

The Heathrow Community Fund is part of the grant-making charity LHR Airport Communities Trust.  It receives funding from Heathrow Airport Limited, noise fines and other funders, as well as funding from Heathrow staff via their fundraising activities.

Despite being funded by Heathrow it is independently run.

Last year, the fund gave over £500,000 to local causes primarily through three schemes – Communities for Youth, Communities for Tomorrow, and Communities Together.

Groups here have previously been awarded Heathrow funding for new noticeboards, and Apple Fair prizes, but Colnbrook has not traditionally been among the main recipients of grants.  Colnbrook saw just £2,500 of that with a grant to St Thomas’ Church for a new sound system.

While a petition handed to SBC, Slough CCG and NHS England, managed only 300 signatures, few issues locally have galvanised opinion in the way that the closure of the surgery has.  Six months after from winning Government backing for a Colnbrook runway to be seen to be associated with restoring an important community asset would no doubt be seen as a positive move for the airport.

You can view the list of all 2016 beneficiaries here.

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