CARERS have launched a fight to save a respite home which is under threat of closure.
Croft House in Fareham is one of three homes that Hampshire County Council is looking to close over the next two years in a bid to save £1.7m a year.
The council is looking to cut its total number of homes from nine to five by also merging two more homes.
Alistair Iverson, 53, and his wife are the carers for his brother Graeme, 51. Graeme has Down’s Syndrome and the family make regular use of Croft House.
They say the 12-bed facility in Redlands Lane – rated as ‘good’ in its latest inspection by the Care Quality Commission – provides a vital lifeline for them, and him, for 21 days a year.
Alistair, of Heathfield Avenue in Fareham, said: ‘Graeme enjoys going there, he’s always happy to go.
‘He goes with his friends from the day service so it’s somewhere he feels comfortable.
‘The thing that stresses people with Down’s is change, and that’s exactly what this would mean.’
He said carers like him save the government hundreds of millions a year.
‘We don’t expect much in return,’ he added.
‘There’s a vast silent community of carers who haven’t responded to these proposals – many of them still don’t even know about them. It’s massive incompetence by Hampshire County Council when they are supposed to have carried out a thorough consultation.’
Mr Iverson, who has already gathered support from some of his fellow carers, is lobbying local councillors and MPs and is calling for a public meeting to address the plans.
‘We were told in a rather flippant way that we could go to the home at Hayling Island instead which is completely missing the point,’ he said.
Councillor Felicity Hindson, who is in charge of adult services for the county, said any changes would not reduce the amount of service on offer, merely change the way it is delivered, adding: ‘No decision has yet been made about the future of Croft House or any other site.’
She will make a decision on the proposals on May 16. The other homes marked for closure are in Winchester and Aldershot. For more information about the campaign contact 01329 311854 or go to whocareswecare.org.uk
COMMENT n PAGE 8