Mayor vows to continue fight for Retford home

A Retford residential home for the disabled has announced it is closing its doors to residents despite an emotive campaign to keep it open.

More than 50 members of the public attended a meeting on Monday to voice their concerns about the closure of the Dukeries Cheshire Home on Hospital Road.

The home is being decommissioned by charity Leonard Cheshire Disability Homes, who say they have seen a reduction in patient referals from Notts County Council.

Though the care home's supporters continue to fight on, the decision to close in September this year is looking final.

Retford mayor Wendy Quigley set up the campaign against the closure and has vowed to keep on fighting.

"It's an absolute tragedy. The home is in the most beautiful setting and looks after some of the most vulnerable members of our society," she said.

"We have got over 2000 signatures on a petition, which Coun Elizabeth Yates and I have been getting people to sign in Retford market place."

"I feel sorry for the residents and their relatives. It is so very sad to think of them having to move somewhere else."

One signature on the petition is that of Janet Rich, of Edwinstowe, whose stepson Graham was a resident at the home for about five years until he died in August 2005.

He needed specialised care as he suffered from Huntington's Disease, which causes a degeneration of nerve cells in the brain.

"It's awful to think of that home closing. It was just like a real home for him," she said.

"The staff were just absolutely brilliant. They were just so good at putting the effort into looking after those that stayed there."

"If we had been told that we had to move Graham away, I just don't know what we would have done. It just doesn't bear thinking about."

A spokesman for Leonard Cheshire said: "We told service users about the decision on 15th May."

"We had to make the decision that the home was no longer viable as we were not getting enough referals."

"If we continue working like this, we are operating at a financial loss. We are working with residents to work out what will be the best move for them.”

A spokesman from Notts County Council emphasised that the care home is privately run and any decision on its future lies with Leonard Cheshire, not the council.

”So far this year, only two people with disabilities have chosen to move into residential care in the whole of Bassetlaw and Newark.”

“There is also a wide choice of residential care for people with disabilities in the north of the county, which could also explain the reduced numbers of people choosing to move to the Leonard Cheshire Home.”

”We will work with Leonard Cheshire to ensure that the home closure causes minimum disruption to the residents.”

“There are other placements available in the local area and the residents will be informed of the various options, including the opportunity to move to another Leonard Cheshire Home in West Bridgford, north Lincolnshire or Derbyshire if they so wish.

There are currently 11 residents at the 16-bed home and its facilities will move to Leonard Cheshire Disability's other Notts home in West Bridgford.