An MP has hit out at an operator after its decision to close one of its care homes despite a community campaign to save it.
South Lakes MP Tim Farron was among those battling to save Holehird, in Windermere, from closing after its operator Leanord Cheshire said the level of “short and long-term investment needed at Holehird for it to have a sustainable future” was “prohibitive”.
It consequently decided not to renew its lease.
Discussions had been ongoing with St Gregory’s Homecare (SGH) for it to take over the reins of the home, but this never materialised.
Leonard Cheshire said that all residents had been moved to new homes.
“I am heartbroken for the families involved and the staff at Holehird. We did everything we could, thousands of local people signed a petition and there was a viable provider willing to take over the care,” said Mr Farron.
“I think Leonard Cheshire have behaved disgracefully throughout. I asked them to delay the decision, they refused. They dragged their feet, before going and issuing redundancy notices anyway, completely undermining the stage we were at.
“They moved the residents out without giving the families hope that there was an alternative, which there was. At every stage, Leonard Cheshire has acted as ‘if we can’t do it, then no-one can’.”
24 residents and 60 staff
It was revealed in April by Mr Farron that Holehird – which had 24 residents and employed 60 staff – was threatened with closure.
A spokesman for Leonard Cheshire said: “We continued to engage with SGH to support their potential interest in Holehird. Having extended our consultation with staff, Mr Farron wrote to us at the time, expressing his concern about the negative impact that changing redundancy deadlines were having on people’s lives.
“It would have been grossly unfair to keep stopping and starting a redundancy process. This would have caused further uncertainty and anxiety for staff about their futures, as well as people living at Holehird. We understand no submission for a lease was ultimately made.”
Leonard Cheshire is in the process of returning the home to the trustees of the Lakeland Trust.