City children’s home to be shut by the summer

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A COUNCIL-run children’s home in Portsmouth is due to close.

The Lightfoot Lawn home in Lightfoot Lawn, Southsea, is expected to shut by June this year.

The decision was made yesterday at Portsmouth City Council’s children and education decision meeting.

The centre, which is about 30 years old, cares for children and young people who are looked after by the state.

There are two other homes in the city – one in Skye Close, Cosham, and a second in Tangier Road, Copnor.

Both of these sites are only eight years old.

A report presented at the meeting said: ‘Operationally there is an over-riding case for the closure of Lightfoot Lawn children’s home.

‘The principal reason for this is that the Skye Close building and Tangier Road building are purpose-built children’s home facilities, with sufficient space and accommodation.

‘They also have facilities to operate effectively both as children’s homes and as hubs for the residential outreach team.

‘In addition, they do not have the very close proximity to residential dwellings, which Lightfoot Lawn building has, nor the increased potential of neighbour conflict.’

No one from Lightfoot Lawn was available for comment, but one resident spoke to The News about the decision.

A 17-year-old girl who is cared for there, and who can’t be named for legal reasons, said: ‘I feel really bad about it shutting down.

‘People have been caring and looking after us for many years.

‘If it wasn’t for them, we would be on the streets.’

The children and young people in Lightfoot Lawn, will either be moved into one of the other two homes, or helped to live on their own.

Kate Freeman, looked-after services commissioning manager, said: ‘A 30-day staff consultation is to begin soon, which should be completed in either April or beginning of May.

‘Recruitment will then start on the outreach team, which will give young people the skills for independent living.’