Vulnerable residents ‘in limbo’ as future of South Shields care home remains in doubt

Oakdale Lodge, Stanley Street, South Shields
Oakdale Lodge, Stanley Street, South Shields

WORRIED residents at a South Tyneside care home facing the axe are still ‘in limbo’ – more than two months after it was revealed its future was under review.

Families of elderly residents at Oakdale Lodge, in Stanley Street, South Shields, have been anxiously waiting for answers after the landlord of the building entered talks to sell off the home.

We have been in limbo and haven’t been able to make a decision on whether to find a new home for our relatives.

A protest against the possible closure of the site, home to 30 residents, was held by campaigners last month.

Families of the residents, the majority of whom suffer from dementia, held a placard-carrying demonstration against the plan, while petitions with more than 3,000 signatures were also launched.

Families with loved ones living at Oakdale Lodge were invited to a meeting in February after being told the future of the home was under review.

They were informed Executive Care, which runs the care home, in Stanley Street, South Shields, rents the building from a private landlord, who is now in negotiations with a third party over the site’s redevelopment.

If any deal went ahead, then the residents would have to be rehoused.

The building landlord Andrew Lapping, managing director of the Glasgow-based property investment firm Hamilton Portfolio Ltd, said last month that talks over a potential sale of the site to nearby Lidl had started 12 months ago and were at an early stage.

He said he was considering the sale as the firm he rented the building to, Executive Care, had gone into administration and been bought out by investment firm, Monarch. and he was unsure of its plans for the home.

The 25 care homes – including Oakdale Lodge – are still run under the Executive Care trading name, with the same management team in place.

John Rutherford, 58, whose father Jack, 80, lives at Oakdale, is hoping that staff and residents can still remain at Oakdale Lodge.

He said: “Since our protest last month, it has all gone very quiet.

“We have been in limbo and haven’t been able to make a decision on whether to find a new home for our relatives.

“We all want to stay at Oakdale Lodge.”

“It is testament to the dedication of the staff that they all still remain here, despite not knowing their futures.

“The options are that it closes, that all the staff and residents are moved to a new site or that the business stays at Oakdale Lodge and it is made profitable. We are all hoping to stay at Oakdale Lodge.”

David Harrison, chief executive of Executive Care, said that a decision on the future of the care home is still to be made, but said the company is working hard to secure its future – possibly at a new location in South Shields.

He said :“We are currently reviewing the future of Oakdale Lodge due to growing uncertainty around the site.

“While this home is loved by residents and staff alike, the building is not owned by Executive Care and we are not protected by a long-term lease.

“During our review process, we are looking at all options to keep the staff and residents together.

“We have identified possible alternative care homes sites that we may be able to take ownership of, and are now examining the feasibility, logistics and investment implications.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazchris