Shocked relatives turn up for care home meeting only to be told it will close this year

SHOCKED relatives of residents at Kingswood Park, March, turned up to a meeting to discuss its future only to learn it will close later this year.

Forty elderly residents will lose their home when the Methodist Housing Association (MHA) pulls the plug on the home following the loss of a block contract with Cambridgeshire County Council.

The MHA claims residents can switch to “nearby” homes in Bottisham and Sawston but Bottisham is 35 miles away and Sawston 46 miles away.

The association says it has put on a halt to new admissions to Kingswood Park from April 1.

A spokesman said today: “It is with deepest regret that we are consulting over the closure of Kingswood Park.

“The home has a strong ethos and provides good quality care but the building has become dated and this will impact on standards of care in the longer term.

“In addition, the local authority has had a block contract with MHA to provide care to older people since 2001 and this will expire in November.”

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The statement said that MHA, the care provider, and Sanctuary Group, who own the building, “have worked hard to consider the best option for the future, placing great emphasis on the need to make the best decision for residents and staff into the long term.

“Should the closure be confirmed, residents and relatives will be supported in choosing a new care home to meet their needs and wishes.”

Members of staff are also affected – they are being offered jobs at the MHA homes in Bottisham and Sawston with daily or nigh time commutes of either 70 or 92 miles as an alternative to redundancy.

The statement added: “MHA and Sanctuary are sorry for the upheaval that this decision will cause residents and staff but are certain that this is the appropriate first step to ensure the best quality care and accommodation being provided for older people into the long term.”

Relatives say they were told the news by Jasbir Singh, Services Manager for MHA, who explained that without the ownership of the building it was hard for them to make serious improvements in the building.

The lease with Sanctuary is ending and is not being renewed. The future of the building is uncertain and Sanctuary despite being asked by MHA declined to send a representative to the meeting.

A clearly emotional Mr Singh told the relatives that ending of the block contract with the council also impacted on the home.

One relative said she was not alone in believing the consultation process would help keep the home open.

She said: ““If the council is not interested in renewing its contract then it’s a foregone conclusion”.

Another said: “Forty vulnerable and elderly people will have to look for a new care home, with a strong possibility that it may be outside the March area meaning that family and friends will no longer be able to visit so often and effectively removing residents from the community they have known for so long.”

Another distressed relative said: “It’s a shame Sanctuary Housing could not show their face. If the council said that if the home closes then planning permission would not be given for housing on the site, then I wonder what they would do then.”

Relatives believe the care home stands on prime building land which will allow a gateway to the possibility of further land behind.

As yet Sanctuary, despite being asked by MHA, has refused to comment on the future of the building.

One relative added: “My relative has taken three years to being here and is now settled and happy and now you want to rip her out and start again”.

Mr Singh said that he couldn’t sit here and make it any easier for anyone. “All we can do is support residents and relatives”.

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