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Closure Consultation at Shropshire Home

29 April 2010

ExtraCare has entered a period of consultation over the proposed closure of The Lady Forester Community Nursing Home and Forester's Court Sheltered Housing Scheme in Much Wenlock.

The single-site schemes are owned and managed by the Trust and support elderly residents living there with a team of 28 staff. Staff at the schemes have provided an excellent standard of personal support and nursing care for local older people since 1996.

We have prepared a Questions and Answers document which you can read by clicking here.

Consultation Period

Following a period of consultation which began on 28th May 2010, a decision on closure will be taken after 31st July 2010. If the closure option is taken, this will not occur before January 31st 2011. The land and buildings would be offered for sale by the Trust.

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 schemes, despite operating losses of over £336,000.

Trust Sought Re-Development Solution

In 2005, the Trust pursued a planning application with Bridgnorth District Council to re-develop the site so that it could operate a larger, viable housing scheme for older people. This application was turned down. Since that time the Trust has explored a number of re-development options, including the sale of the schemes as an ongoing concern. Despite the Trust's significant efforts, no successful solution has been found.

£2m to Repair and Upgrade

The nursing home now requires £2m to repair and upgrade its facilities if, in future years, it is to be maintained as a comfortable and safe environment for the residents who live there.

The proposed closure is therefore a response to the poor state of the nursing home building, the absence of any viable re-development plan or sale, and the continuing losses the Trust feels it can no longer bear.

Support For Residents, Relatives and Staff

ExtraCare is concerned to ensure that residents and their families, volunteers and staff are supported carefully and sensitively, and an extensive process of consultation and guidance is already underway.

The Trust is working closely with Shropshire Council to consider suitable, alternative care homes or very sheltered housing accommodation which could provide ongoing care and support for those residents affected by a proposed closure. Each resident would have the support of a team and a dedicated 'key worker' to help them to settle into their new home.

Staff affected by the proposals will be fully supported, individually, and given assistance with finding alternative employment wherever possible.

The Trust is also concerned to contact local organisations that have generously given money for equipment, or made donations for specific purposes linked to the schemes. In the event of closure, every effort would be made to ensure that equipment could be used elsewhere.

High Standard of Care

Nick Abbey, Chief Executive of The ExtraCare Charitable Trust, comments:

"Our Trust prides itself on providing a high standard of care for older people, living locally in the communities where we operate our schemes and villages. Our staff are highly-valued; many have dedicated their time and expertise and shown great kindness towards our residents over many years.

"The decision to enter a period of consultation is taken with deep regret and follows an extended period of deliberation. It follows a five year period during which the Trust has been willing to support the schemes, despite ongoing losses and our considerable efforts to find a viable, alternative solution to these unwelcome proposals.

"Our primary concern is for our residents and staff. The Trust will make every reasonable effort to support and guide each person involved, taking consideration of their needs and wishes at this difficult time."