Home for visually impaired to close

ELDERLY visually-impaired residents of one of Felixstowe's best-known care homes today received the heartbreaking news that it is to close.

By RICHARD CORNWELL

Felixstowe editor

richard.cornwell@eveningstar.co.uk>

ELDERLY visually-impaired residents of one of Felixstowe's best-known care homes today received the heartbreaking news that it is to close.

It was an emotional day for the 13 residents of the St Felix Home for the Blind, who will now be found new homes in other centres in the area.

The home has been a part of the resort since 1948 and has twice before staved off closure when changes to fire regulations and other rules threatened its future.

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This time though managers of the charity-run home in Princes Road say there is no saving it and it has become economically unviable.

Chairman of the board of trustees Mark Davis said the charity very much regretted the decision and it was a very sad day for the remaining residents and their relatives.

“The home has made enormous strides over the last five years to meet the ever-changing and demanding regulatory requirements and has to a large extent succeeded,” he said.

“It has always had a reputation as a very 'homely' home and has boasted a fabulous garden that the residents have much enjoyed over the years.

“However, it is only a 16-bed home and it has only ever been a viable economic proposition because it is owned and run by a charitable organisation with a lot of voluntary input.

“Even so, it has always depended on a very high occupancy level and sadly over the last 15 months the home has not only seen an increase in the number of vacant beds, but it has seen a change in the world around residential care homes.”

Two things had conspired to force the closure - the increasing impact of “care in the community” with more people staying at home instead of going into care homes, and the need to improve the century-old St Felix building.

A lot had been done over the years but potential residents and their families now expected en suite rooms and floor-to-floor lifts, which could not be provided.

Mr Davis said the home's management team would be working closely with social services to minimise the distress to residents and their families and to help the residents get settled into alternative accommodation which best suits their needs.

St Felix had enjoyed tremendous support from the community.

“All involved at the home would like to sincerely thank all those in the community who have given so much of their time and effort for the benefit of the residents over the years. It has been much appreciated,” said Mr Davis.

What do you think of the loss of the St Felix? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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