Cash crisis means home must close

felixstowe: Ten blind and visually-impaired people are to lose the home they love because it is too costly to keep open.

Owners of St Felix Home for the Blind say its losses have made it unviable and they can no longer support it.

Supporters are deeply saddened and will look to see if anything can be done, but hold out little hope.

Twice before the 16-bed home in Princes Road, Felixstowe, has successfully fought off closure.

“Unless a knight in shining armour arrives, I am not sure what we can do,” said Diana Barnard, chairman of the Friends of St Felix.

“Ipswich Blind Society’s finances have been hit by the recession, and, while we have raised �60,000 to help keep the home going, it is just not enough.

“We are mortified.”

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Ipswich Blind Society, which owns the home, said it would be closing in the next few months because of the home’s year-on-year losses together with increased competition and changing care policies for the elderly.

The home was also a victim of changing care practice, where the aim now is to keep elderly people in their own home as long as possible and move directly to nursing rather than residential care.

“This has been a very difficult decision to take and every effort will be made to help the residents to find new accommodation.

“We have explored every option and can find no way forward for the home,” said society chairman Cyril Long.

Mike Kent, whose 98-year-old mother Avis has been at the home for five years, said: “I think it is really sad because this home is a one-off and has a wonderful friendly atmosphere, really special.

“There are no other specialist homes for visually-impaired people in the county and the service the staff provide is excellent.”

? Should St Felix close? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk