Work starts this week on rehoming the final seven residents of a South Tyneside care home which is to be axed.
Discussions have started with residents of Connolly House residential care home and their families to transfer them to more suitable accommodation based on their individual needs.
In early 2011, more than 1,300 petitioners backed a campaign to save the 36 bedroomed home in Whiteleas, South Shields, which has just seven residents.
At the time it was due to be axed as part of a review of adult social care across the borough.
Council bosses then gave the home and others under threat a six-month ‘stay of execution,’ after agreeing to extend a period of consultation until August 2011.
Lead member for adult social care and support services, Coun Mary Butler, said: “Change can be unsettling but I would like to reassure everybody that we will manage this difficult situation with dignity and respect to the individuals involved.
“However, it is simply not possible to continue to provide the services that our residents need at Connolly House.
“We now need to begin the process of planning the closure in a carefully managed way that takes full account of the needs of residents, their families and carers. Residents have been allocated a designated social worker to make sure their views and wishes are noted and acted upon.”
In October 2010, following a consultation, South Tyneside Council’s Cabinet agreed that Connolly House would close in the future. While the quality of care at Connolly House is excellent, the physical environment does not live up to the same standards as the care provided.
Counc Butler added: “With only a small number of residents, Connolly House no longer provides a suitable environment for our residents to live in.
“Five years ago we promised to be honest and open with residents and their families. We have maintained dialogue throughout this time and we remain committed to that approach.
“I would like to reassure the residents affected and their families and carers that we will be with them every step of the way and do our utmost to ensure a smooth transition to more suitable accommodation.”
Ward Members, Cllrs Bill Brady, Ernest Gibson and Doreen Purvis have been consulted and understand the reasons for the closure and support the decision.
They are working closely with everyone involved to ensure affected residents, carers and their families are given all the support they need.
South Tyneside Council will continue to support residents, carers and staff throughout.