St John branch is a target for closure

Closing Down: Cllr Judith Twigg, President of the Bakewell branch of St.John Ambulance, is dismayed at the decision to close the building and sell off the land after sixty years.
Closing Down: Cllr Judith Twigg, President of the Bakewell branch of St.John Ambulance, is dismayed at the decision to close the building and sell off the land after sixty years.

The Bakewell branch of the St John Ambulance is facing closure as part of a restructuring of the service in the Midlands.

The move has incensed Cllr Judith Twigg, who is now campaigning to keep it going.

Cllr Twigg, who represents Bakewell for Derbyshire Dales District Council, was alarmed to hear that the group was in danger of being axed after decades in the town.

She is the president of the group and is concerned the closure of the local branch could leave the Bakewell youngsters with nowhere to go.

“It’s been going for about 60 years,” she said.

“There are ten cadets – that’s ten youngsters off the streets.

“St John Ambulance says they can travel to Matlock, but 13–year–olds aren’t going to do that.”

Cllr Twigg was also concerned that a playgroup used the building, and if the branch was closed it would have nowhere to go.

“The branch always makes a profit,” she said.

“They are reorganising the region and because we are only a small branch they are closing us. I am incensed.”

Cllr Twigg said that on top of her concern over what will happen to the young people using the building, there is a covenant on St John Hall stating that it can only ever be used by St John Ambulance.

“The covenant prevents its sale so I don’t know what they are planning to do with the building,” she continued.

“To deprive Bakewell of St John Ambulance would be terrible. They are always there at the carnival and they attend lots of things. I’ve been with them for 29 years.”

St John Ambulance maintains that the decision to close the branch is not a done deal and made no comment about any future plans for the building.

Chris Thornton, regional director for the East Midlands, said: “Our new regional structure means that resources can be shared so we can better target areas that need our help.

“With these changes, we can be more responsive to society’s first aid needs and help more people be the difference between life and death.

“As a region we are currently reviewing all our activities.

“With regards to Bakewell, no decision has been made yet.

“As soon as we have a formal proposal it will be presented to the members.

“Any decisions regarding units will not affect our delivery of first aid.

“We are still providing an excellent first aid service to Bakewell.”