PLANS for the 'modernisation and refurbishment' of Furlong Close are one step closer to coming to fruition. 

As part of those plans, The Families and Friends of Furlong Close is seeking expressions of interest from local community groups to make regular or occasional use of some of the communal facilities on the site, "for the mutual benefit of the community and the residents of Furlong Close".

These facilities, which currently include a commercial kitchen, meeting rooms, a community hall (Marsh Hall), workshops and horticultural sheds and areas for cultivation, used to be part of the Day Services which offered meaningful activity to learning disabled and autistic adults from the Devizes area and beyond, as well as the Furlong Close residents.

The Day Service was closed down in 2020 because of the pandemic.

The purpose-built facility of Marsh Hall, and the associated smaller Wilson room, was also hired by the wider community in Rowde and Devizes for a range of group activities, including a Zumba group, Keep Fit group, Pilates, local 60+ lunches, charity fund-raisers, U3A.

The group said: "We ask for no commitment at the moment, but we are very interested in hearing from local community groups and others who might be interested in making use of these facilities. 

"If you are interested contact Trish Gange at if you feel you might be interested in using the Marsh Hall and associated facilities in future."

The Friends and Families of Furlong Close said in September last year that they were in talks over a long-term plan for the site after it received an ‘Inadequate’ rating in its latest Care Quality Commission report.

Over the last few months, the Families and Friends of Furlong Close have been working on a plan to give the site a long-term future.

The friends and families group says it has had positive dialogue with the CQC, Hft and Wiltshire Council and is working so that their relatives can remain in their homes.

This would also allow residents to keep their long-standing carers under the management of a new care provider.

The group added that since it was given an inadequate rating from the Care Quality Commission, Hft had strengthened the management and made positive steps to address the safeguarding issues at the complex.