Elderly care home residents left devastated by threatened closure

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AROUND 36 elderly residents, some with dementia, are facing eviction from their closure-threatened March care home.

Staff, residents and relatives were shocked by Friday’s announcement that Kingswood Park in Burrowmoor Road could close later this year.

MHA (Methodist Homes for the Aged) which runs the care home announced it was consulting on the closure, stating the building, which is owned by the Sanctuary Group, is out dated.

In a press statement MHA said the building has become dated and claims this will impact on the standard of care in the longer term.

But residents are devastated at the news they could be forced to move out by the end of October, with MHA suggesting homes in Bottisham and Sawston as alternatives.

Members of staff would also be offered employment in the homes as an alternative to redundancy, wherever possible.

The statement reads: “It is with deepest regret that we are consulting over the closure of Kingswood Park care. Admissions will cease effective from April 1, 2011 accordingly.

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

“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.”

But relatives of residents are convinced the closure is a foregone conclusion and claim it will be a devastating blow for the elderly who enjoy living at Kingswood Park.

Among those affected is 92-year-old Lucy Williamson, who has been at Kingswood for the past three years.

Her daughter Jo Masters said her mother was heartbroken at the thought of having to leave.

Jo praised the care given by Kingswood’s staff and said it was second to none. She also said there was little choice of alternative places for residents to move to locally.

“When mum went into Kingswood she couldn’t walk. The care she was given has got her back on her own two feet - something I never thought would happen. I can’t praise the care highly enough. Kingswood is a true asset for the town.

“It will be devastating for mum and the other residents to have to move,” said Jo, who fears the closure is a step towards the site being sold for housing development.

“If it closes then I think they should be forced to build a new home to replace Kingswood. March needs more care homes and I don’t think they should be allowed simply to replace it with housing.”

Eighty-three-year-old Bill Green spends every day at the home visiting his wife Connie (84) who has been at Kingswood for the past three years after suffering from dementia.

He worries the closure will make it difficult for him to spend time with his beloved wife especially if she is placed somewhere like Sawston or Bottisham.

“I can still drive at the moment, but I have an eye problem which may mean I will be stopped from driving in the next year or so.

“How will I be able to visit my wife if I can’t drive and you also have to think about the cost of petrol. The council didn’t even bother to come to the meeting on Friday.

“I think if they close Kingswood then they should be forced to replace it - the council should tell them they will not grant planning permission for anything else. March doesn’t need more building plots. More and more people are being diagnosed with dementia, where are they going to go?” said Bill.

The consultation period is set to run until May 1 and an announcement will be made on May 6.

“They say it is only consultation at this stage, but we all know it is going to close and nothing we can say will change that,” added Jo.

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