The board of trustees of St John’s Winchester met on Monday 14 June and with great sadness decided to affirm its proposal to close its Moorside care home following the end of consultations. The decision follows careful consideration by the board of the results of the charity’s consultation exercise with families of Moorside residents, Moorside staff, almshouse residents and staff charity-wide.
Chair of the board, Roger Bright, said: “We want to thank all those who took part in the consultation process for their thoughts, ideas and suggestions, which we have considered very carefully. Regrettably, however, no workable solutions emerged as to how to close the funding gap between our reduced income and our costs in a way that would allow St John’s to continue to operate Moorside and provide the high standard of care which we consider so important. Our high care standards are achieved first and foremost through the skill and endeavour of our staff. But the small scale and configuration of Moorside as a building also requires a generous staffing policy to maintain these care standards and, sadly, this comes at a significant financial cost which we can no longer sustain.
Chief Executive, Clive Cook, said: “Now that the decision to close Moorside has been taken, the charity’s number one focus in the short term is to achieve the best possible managed closure of the home. We will offer full support to residents, their families and our brilliant Moorside staff, whose contributions were kindly acknowledged by families of Moorside residents, especially in meeting the enormous challenges posed by the pandemic.
“We will keep open good lines of communication with relatives throughout the process and work closely with the families and Hampshire County Council to achieve the best possible outcomes for our residents. Whilst we would expect that the home will close by the end of September, the precise timing will be determined by the needs of our residents and their families. We will not rush the process of helping our residents find suitable new homes in a safe way.”
The closure process will result in a collective staff redundancy situation, but the charity is committed to supporting employees with an enhanced redundancy package, expert help to prepare CVs and to hone interview skills, and by doing what it can to help staff to find new work.
Looking to the future, St John’s plans not to dispose of the Moorside site, but, subject to planning permission, to repurpose it and develop up to 18 new almshouses which would provide fully-adapted accommodation for older people of limited financial means. The first steps in that process will begin over the next few months.
Roger Bright added: “All of us here at St John’s would like to thank the family members who took part in the consultation process and applaud our Moorside Matron and staff, many of whom have committed to staying with St John’s until the closure is complete. We are still reflecting on the consultations and will be taking on board a number of suggestions as we progress our future plans.
“We want to develop dementia care in the future and we are now looking at a project to take dementia support out into the community to help those living with dementia and their family members to better cope with this devastating disease.”