Horsham District Older Peoples Forum

Welcome to the website of the Older Peoples Forum for Horsham District

The Horsham District Older Peoples Forum (HDOPF) is an independent, non-political, voluntary group that is free to attend and take part in.  It acts as the 'ears' and gives a 'voice' for people aged 60 and over who reside in the Horsham District Council area or who cares for someone who is. The Forum exists for anyone to raise issues that relate to or affect local older people. The Forum holds quarterly public meetings around the district. We take action where possible on issues that are raised i.e take up with local councils or with projects; we also act as an information hub and consultative group for anyone seeking the views of older people in the district on particular plans, topics or schemes that may affect older people. The Forum is pleased to circulate and publicise information and events that may be of interest to local older people or carers.

The Forum is actively working towards an 'Age-Friendly' and 'Dementia Friendly' Horsham.  



Dear supporter,

The government has recognised the contribution made by village halls to the local community i.e in combatting loneliness. See the Daily Telegraph article 20th January 2020 'Brightening up village halls helps to tackle loneliness' which starts with: 

'The Government is redecorating crumbling village halls across the country alongside a scheme aimed at tackling loneliness. Halls in need of repair have already been granted £1.2 million of funding in order to turn them into centres of the community. Grants of up to £75,000 to make improvements to halls are still available.'

The following information is circulated at the request of Horsham Blueprint and Horsham Denne Neighbourhood Council

Are you aware of and concerned about plans to demolish the Drill Hall without an adequate replacement facility in Horsham Town Centre?
Horsham District Council (HDC) proposes to decommission the Horsham Drill Hall as they consider it not fit for purpose. HDC believes it can provide alternative community facilities on the Highwood Development to the South West of town – a facility it is already committed to provide under the Land West of Horsham 2008 Master Plan.
When the old Horsham Town Hall was closed, residents were promised that the Drill Hall would remain as the community hall for the Town. It hosts concerts, beer festivals, job fairs, dances, adult education, the list goes on. It remains the only venue in Horsham able to host many of these functions, which the report supporting the proposal admits could not be accommodated at the proposed Highwood Community Centre, stating that ‘further consultation is required.’
The Highwood site is 3 miles from town by road, only be accessible from the A24. The development has no public transport and is 2 miles from Horsham Railway Station away on foot. Parking provision at Highwood remains an unanswered question.
Local councillors were only told of these proposals 7 days before a decision is to be made, and many stakeholders are only to be fully briefed 72 hours before the Cabinet meeting.  The decision will be taken by 7 Councillors, only one of whom actually represents a Horsham Town Ward.  This does not meet any reasonable standard of either community consultation or democratic accountability.

We respectfully request:

·     That Cabinet defer making a decision on the future of the Drill Hall until a proper plan can be formulated to either upgrade the Drill Hall or provide the Town with a community hall at its heart that is fit to meet the needs of its residents.

·     That the Drill Hall continues to be available to the community until it is either renovated, rebuilt or replaced in the centre of Town.

·     That a meaningful consultation with the community and its representatives on any proposals is undertaken and the final decision is taken by Full Council, not Cabinet.

Have Your Say:

A petition is here https://www.change.org/p/horsham-district-council-save-horsham-drill-hall

The vote will take place at the next HDC Cabinet Meeting, which is open to the public, at 5:30pm on Thursday, 30th January 2020 at Parkside, Chart Way, Horsham RH12 1RL. In advance of that meeting please e-mail your own Horsham District Councillor, whose details you can find at: https://horsham.moderngov.co.uk/mgFindMember.aspx

Horsham Blueprint is the designated Neighbourhood Forum for the unparished area of Horsham Town, established by the Neighbourhood Councils of Denne, Forest and Trafalgar to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan for Horsham. 


Update 23rd January 2020

Explanation from Cllr Ray Dawe leader of HDC

'The cabinet meeting is actually now on 30th January.

It is to agree a major enhancement of the new community centre at Highwood and to agree to decommission the Drill Hall in two years time.As background, the Drill Hall  currently loses £50k per year and is fast approaching the end of its letting life (it is 93 years old) unless £1m is spent on it. 

However even that would not make it DDA compliant or give us the flexible letting space a modern facility should have. Based  on the very poor  usage  there  over now several years (on average used only 6 hours  per week by the community) this £1m expenditure cannot be justified and the current plan envisages turning the building into affordable housing since this would bring in income to pay for the rebuild as well as providing much needed homes for those residents on lower incomes.

 However, as this would not happen for 2 years, conversations and ideas re what alternatives there may be can take place in that time. In effect, if a better idea that avoids the expenditure and produces an income from the building comes up then we can go for it!

The agenda should be on the HDC website on Thursday.
Hopefully that is the information you are looking for.

Cllr Ray Dawe  Leader of Horsham District Council'


Our next public meeting 

will be Wednesday 4th March 2020 10.30am (10am tea/coffee) at Andrew Hall, Red Lane, Shipley RH13 8PH


HDOPF Public meetings in 2020 (10 am tea/coffee, meeting 10.30 am -1 pm)

All our meetings are free to attend

Wednesday 4th March 2020 Andrew Hall, Red Lane, Shipley RH13 8PH

Wednesday 3rd June 2020 Billingshurst Centre, Roman Way Billingshurst RH14 9QW

Tuesday 1st September 2020 Rudgwick Village Hall, Guildford Road, Bucks Green

 Friday 6th November 2020 MP Question Time with Andrew Griffith, newly elected (December 2019) MP for Arundel & South Downs. Ground floor main conference room, Council offices, Parkside, Chart Way, Horsham. 10am tea/coffee, meeting 10.30am - 1pm


Sparkling service? Forget it if you're elderly Times 30th December 2019

Improved health means old age now starts at 70 Times 20th November 2019

Elderly people having to 'fend for themselves' as 40,000 fewer pensioners receive care despite rising demand Telegraph 22nd October 2019 

Meet the 'Young-Old' generation refusing to act their age Sunday Telegraph 28th April 2019

"Forever young"

“What am I?” asked a man in our company as we debated where middle age now begins and ends. He’s 65 yet feels too young to be classed as “elderly”, too old to be middle-aged. 

Apparently, between 45 and 65 is “middle adulthood”; 65 onwards “old age”. Or to use a less blunt term, elderly. Yet he isn’t elderly. He goes running and is fitter than many 40-year-olds. He listens to Radio 6. Maybe he’s young elderly: “yelderly”? 

But it’s all relative. Most Britons think youth ends at 30 but to my 14-year-old daughter, 30 is ancient. At 18 I probably thought 50 was old; now if pushed I’d say old age is 80-plus. 

Though I know sprightly octogenarians who’d bridle at that. Language hasn’t kept pace with longevity. Our phrases are showing their age."

Carol Midgley Times 14th January 2019


Our sincere thanks go to Jeremy Quin MP who came down from London, taking time out from his important government role during this politically important and sensitive time due to Brexit especially to answer our questions before dashing back to Westminster at our Forum MP Question Time event on the 16th November 18. Notes of the Q & A's here


1 in 5 post offices to close within next year Telegraph 16th April 2019

Britain facing 350,000 shortfall of care workers Telegraph 26th November 2018

An ageing population is causing problems that Britain cannot ignore Times 20th August 2018

More than a million older people left without help Times 9th July 2018

Do you think you or someone you know would benefit from free safety training as a mobility scooter user?  HDOPF with Horsham Town Community Partnership are now able to offer free mobility scooter safety training courses in Horsham. 

Mobility scooter racers bring chaos to market Times 4th August 2018

Mobility scooter death leads to call for change in the law Telegraph 18th July 2018

WSCT article 'Mary 94, leads the way in pioneering buggy scheme' 29th May 2018

West Sussex County Times article 28/11/17 here

Further details on the scheme here


There are expected to be 16 million people aged 65 and over in the UK by 2033, a rise of 40%


There are 10,000 more drivers aged 70 and over every month

Thousands more older drivers ruled medically unfit Times 9th March 2019

Older drivers need medical tests, says Coroner Times 7th July 2018

Should older drivers be tested regularly after 70? What are your views? 


'Old people are kept alive too long' Sunday Times 18th February 2018

'The new retirement' 'Traditional views of retirement are being swept away' The Guardian articles 2017

'We must stop pretending we'll never grow old' Times 17th September 2016

"So where is the social media campaign, where are the angry hashtags? The biggest puzzle is why ageing voters, with their political muscle and grey pound, aren’t demanding change, so that in a decade or so when they’re feeble, alone, and life has contracted to a single room, they will be treated like human beings? That oldster languishing in a surgical ward, pining for home . . . it may be you."  
Janice Turner 'We must stop pretending we'll never grow old'

'Is all in the garden rosy for the 60+'   The Resident 23rd February 2018



Are banks abandoning their customers? Are local bank closures affecting you?

Do banks owe their customers a moral duty to provide local bank services?

Why did Lloyds Bank, on the day of the public meeting held on the 18th January 2018, renege on attending to explain their bank closure in Billingshurst?  

Let the Forum know your views

Towns 'abandoned by banks' Telegraph 28th January 2018


See more articles on our Newspaper Articles page

Meet the doulas helping the terminally ill face death with a smile Sunday Times 7th April 2019

The best places to live in retirement 2018 Sunday Times 28th October 2018

Families to get refunds for power of attorney fees Daily Mail Online 31st January 2018

Towns 'abandoned' by banks Telegraph 28th January 2018

Care home chief warns sector is on the brink of catastrophic collapse Times 22nd August 2017

Find an extra 71,000 beds...and soon, care homes told Times 16th August 2017

Funding crisis leaves thousands of care homes close to collapse Times 14th August 2017

Care Homes have 'culture of apathy' Telegraph 10th August 2017

Vulnerable left without help in health system 'close to collapse' Times 16th February 2017

If you are willing to share your experiences or can’t make the meetings to talk or listen in person or have relevant concerns information then email: horshamolderpeoplesforum@gmail.com or hdopforum@gmail.com or for further information look at this websites pages.  

If you would like further information, become a supporter, join our email circulation list and/or attend any of our meetings please email: hdopforum@gmail.com or horshamolderpeoplesforum@gmail.com or use the 'Contact Us' page on this site  or  telephone our Vice Chairman, Arthur Reader on 07435 969772 

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 email: horshamolderpeoplesforum@gmail.com
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© Horsham District Older Peoples Forum 2018

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