On 28th May 2010, ExtraCare announced proposals to consult over
the closure of The Lady Forester Community Nursing Home and
Forester's Court in Much Wenlock.
The single-site scheme is owned and managed by The ExtraCare
Charitable Trust and supports elderly residents living there with a
team of 28 staff.
Our staff at the scheme have provided an excellent standard of
personal support and nursing care for local older people since
Following an eight week period of consultation, we will need to
make a decision on closure, after 31st July 2010. If the
closure option is taken, this will not occur before January 31st
The decision to move forward with these proposals has been taken
with considerable regret and follows a five year period during
which the Trust has willingly sustained an ongoing commitment to
the scheme, despite operating losses of over £336,000.
We have responded to a significant number of queries during
recent weeks and would like to share a summary of these questions
and responses for the benefit of all those involved in the
If you have further questions and answers, please write
The ExtraCare Charitable Trust,
Or please email: email@example.com
The Delivery of Care and Support
1. What support is being given to residents at
We are mindful of the significant distress and disruption caused
at this difficult time. Individual meetings are being held
between our staff and residents with their relatives, so that each
person can discuss their personal situation, express their views
and receive appropriate support.
We have also attended group meetings with residents and
relatives to respond to their questions. We will continue to
support residents and staff with regular communications, personal
meetings and group forums.
If closure goes ahead we will appoint a key worker to support
each resident. Our key worker will discuss the options and
assist each resident during their move to another home or other
location of their choice.
2. Is it up to residents to find a suitable
alternative home on their own?
No, we will make every effort to ensure that residents are able
to find a new home.
We will also work closely with Shropshire Council and other
providers to consider suitable, alternative care homes or
very-sheltered housing accommodation which could provide ongoing
care and support for all of those residents affected.
3. If the closure goes ahead, how much choice will
residents have in selecting their new homes?
Every effort will be made to seek a suitable placement that
meets the wishes and needs of each resident affected. Wishes
will be considered personally, responding to individual needs
through a process of meetings with residents and their
Should residents choose to make plans independently they would
still receive our support, as appropriate to their wishes.
4. If closure goes ahead will there be any
financial help provided to the residents? For example for
removal costs and the replacement of carpets and
Yes, we would absolutely consider these costs on an individual
5. Do you have any other ExtraCare located schemes
ExtraCare runs Chillcott Gardens in Madeley, near Telford, in
conjunction with the Anchor Trust. In the event of closure, if
spaces were available and the scheme was able to provide a service
that was compatible with each individual's assessment needs, then a
move to Chillcott could be considered. We would be happy for
any person in this situation to visit the scheme.
Further afield, ExtraCare runs other schemes in
Wolverhampton. There is also a village in Birmingham with
potential vacancies. Further villages are opening in
Gloucester and Milton Keynes during the next 18 months.
We are mindful that ExtraCare's other schemes are not local to
Much Wenlock and will focus our efforts on relocating residents
close by, according to their wishes.
6. Are the four Lady Forester GP beds, held
specifically for the community, at risk?
The Primary Care Trust served notice to withdraw these beds,
when the consultation was launched, but has indicated that it will
maintain them should the home continue in some form. We
understand that this would be on an annually renewable
7. In the event of closure what are you doing to
We recognise the high quality of the care provided by staff at
the scheme and the compassion that they have shown towards
residents over a number of months and years. We hope
that staff would remain in post until the proposed closure has been
completed at the end of January 2011.
In the event of closure, we will continue meeting with staff to
consider their individual needs. We will support staffs'
reasonable wishes with regard to their seeking employment that may
be available within ExtraCare, or outside the Trust.
In the event of redundancy, we would meet our full obligations
providing advice and support as part of this process.
Consulting with Community and
8. Since the consultation announcement was made to
residents, relatives and staff who else have you shared information
We have made phone calls, attended meetings, sent letters or
issued other written information by email to many people living in
Much Wenlock, and to:
- Much Wenlock Town Council and Councillors
- Much Wenlock's GP Service
- Shropshire Council
- Shropshire Primary Care Trust
- The Care Quality Commission (CQC)
- Local and National Press
- Other stakeholders as appropriate
ExtraCare's Chief Executive has responded to two further
requests to meet with relatives and residents at the scheme.
These meetings took place on the 10th and 17th June 2010. We
are also responding individually to questions raised by letter,
phone call and email.
If you have not received a response to a particular query or
request within a reasonable timescale, please contact Anna Adams at
ExtraCare on 02476 506011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will continue to consider representations from residents and
staff, the community, stakeholders and partners. The period
of consultation continues until 31st July 2010.
Maintenance and Re-development
9. Why was maintenance of the existing Victorian
building not carried out earlier?
Essential maintenance was undertaken to ensure that the scheme
could be operated safely. However, Lady Forester is an old
building and is running at a loss. We felt unable to proceed
with extensive and expensive repairs whilst future development
options were under consideration.
Whilst the Care Quality Commission is fully satisfied that the
scheme is well managed by ExtraCare's staff team, the Commission
says that these essential preventative repairs must now be
undertaken if the building is to remain open.
10. We're told £2m is needed to re-furbish Lady
Forester? It could be done for less couldn't it?
This figure of £2m comes from a report produced by our
architects and would cover replacement of the roof and heating
system as well as many other items. It would not include
refurbishment (beyond a very basic safety level) of the upper
When undertaking this sort of major work, it is common to
discover further repairs that need to be done; so it is possible
that the amount set aside may be insufficient
We have made available a copy of the specification of this work
to local people who have asked for it.
11. A planning application to develop 65
apartments on the existing site and additional adjacent land was
denied in 2005. Why didn't you re-submit the application?
Couldn't you do this now?
We did consider renewing this application at the time and were
advised by consultants that it was unlikely that permission would
A further planning application could be considered for the
65-apartment proposal. However, the risks linked to this proposal
are considerable and include the following considerations:
- If the adjacent land was available for sale, it is likely that
it would cost more than the £600,000 agreed for its purchase in
- Homes within the new scheme would need to be purchased.
We believe that this would involve significant risk in a rural
market during a downturn in the economy.
- The total capital cost of the proposal is estimated to be
£11m. In the current financial climate we are concerned as to
whether grants would be available and whether the new scheme could
break-even - and therefore remain economically sustainable.
- We are not confident that the revenue support for people
receiving care would automatically be available.
- There is no guarantee that planning consent would be
- We would still face the difficulties over the current condition
of the Victorian building.
Given the risks involved, the Trust is not minded to re-submit a
planning application linked to this proposal.
12. Planning permission was given in 2007 to
develop five further bungalows and refurbish the Victorian
building. Why was this option not considered?
The estimated cost of developing the additional bungalows and
refurbishing the Victorian building would require a capital cost of
£5.5m. Assuming property sales amounting to £3.9m could be
achieved, this would still result in a net increase of four bed
spaces and an annual loss to the Trust of a predicted £68,000 per
Given these circumstances, grants or fundraising of at least £2m
would be required for ExtraCare to consider this option.
Currently, we do not believe that this option is viable.
13. Could you relocate the business locally? Is
there anywhere that people could move to as a group?
We are not aware of any local property or site that could be
used to re-build and run a viable scheme. We do not believe
that the sale of the current scheme could fund the development of
another site locally, nor that the timescales would work given the
repairs needed now at the nursing home.
14. Why don't you sell the scheme to another care
provider so that residents and staff can remain at the
The Charity has explored how the scheme could continue to
provide housing with care by selling the site to another provider,
so far without success.
We continue to look at this option and will consider all
reasonable offers seriously.
Selling the Land
15. Who has approached you to purchase the site for
Shropshire Homes have acquired the land adjoining the Lady
Forester Community Nursing Home.
As part of the process for them to submit a planning application
for their own site, Shropshire Homes needed to talk to ExtraCare
about the interface between their two respective boundaries and how
this would be dealt with. Arising from these discussions and
understanding ExtraCare's current difficulties with the nursing
home, Shropshire Homes have made an offer to acquire the whole site
If the offer was accepted, it would be Shropshire Homes'
intention to build houses on part of the site, and also to retain
and refurbish (as apartments) the Victorian building.
However, we continue to look at alternative options, and are
consulting locally until 31st July 2010. No contract
has been signed between ExtraCare and Shropshire Homes.
16. What would happen with the proceeds of any
During the past five years the scheme has made losses in excess
of £336,000. In addition, proposed closure would absorb
significant costs associated with supporting residents and staff
during the process.
Therefore, funds from any sale would be used to offset those
losses and costs.
Should any funds remain, they would be used to support the
Trust's activities in line with the requirements of its Trust
Deed. ExtraCare is a charity (registered charity no.
327816) and does not have shareholders or pay
If closure goes ahead, we would contact local organisations who
have given money recently for specific purposes, to see whether
equipment purchased can be returned or re-used elsewhere.
The Trust and Its Duty
17. Have you had any recent significant offer of
local charitable support to help repair and maintain the
No significant offer has been forthcoming. When the Trust
took over Lady Forester Community Nursing Home in 1996, it was
generously given almost £300,000 from the previous owners (Much
Wenlock Nursing Home Trust) and from the League of Friends,
together with the land. £500,000 was also raised through
fundraising. Since then, that money has been used towards the
cost of Foresters Court and to run and maintain the scheme.
18. The scheme may not be making money but don't
you have a charitable duty to subsidise it?
ExtraCare has subsidised this scheme for five years and has
accrued significant losses amounting to over £336,000.
It is after significant deliberation and with much regret that
we feel that this situation is no longer sustainable. ExtraCare's
duty is to use its resources to provide housing and care for older
people, and it carries on doing that across a large part of the
19. You are spending your funds on upgrading or
developing schemes in other areas - is that where the money's
No. The finance required to develop or upgrade schemes
that are sustainable and meet significant demand in other areas are
not dependent on or related to the proposed closure of the
20. Were there any covenants linked to the
long-term future of this site?
We are not aware that there are any covenants linked to either
Lady Forester Community Nursing Home or Foresters Court, or the
site, that require the scheme to be operated in perpetuity.
As a charity, if the land is sold, we will have to demonstrate that
the sale was on the best terms reasonably obtainable at the
21. Can we have access to your charitable records
and records linked specifically to the Lady Forester
It is important that you are able to access records and hold the
Trust to account. Our accounts are a matter of public record
and you are welcome to access these documents through the Charities
We will consider all other reasonable requests and support your
enquiries wherever possible. Already, we have been happy to
supply financial information and records linked to the scheme, as
requested, on an individual basis.
22. What is the ExtraCare Charitable
The ExtraCare Charitable Trust is a leading provider of
activity-based support for older people, supporting over 3000
residents in 20 Midlands-based housing schemes and 10 retirement
Founded in 1988, the Trust works in partnership with like-minded
local authorities, regeneration bodies, charitable trusts and
developers to enable older people to participate in an active and