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OAPS must leave home

PUBLISHED: 14:37 12 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:10 03 March 2010

NINE elderly people, including a 102-year-old woman, are today faced with the daunting prospect of moving home after being told their residential home was to close down.

NINE elderly people, including a 102-year-old woman, are today faced with the daunting prospect of moving home after being told their residential home was to close down.

St Raphael House in Felixstowe Road, Ipswich is set to shut on March 1 because it cannot afford to comply with new Government regulations.

A relative of one of the residents, who asked not to be named, said: "A couple of the residents are nearly 100 and there is a 102-year-old. It's a wonderful little home and everybody is really happy there – it's like a little hotel and everybody is deeply shocked."

Eric Shields, chairman of the town's St Raphael Club, said: "We are all very sad and it has been a very difficult decision to make".

The Ipswich-based charity has run the small residential home for the past ten years but does not have the money to carry on.

"We are not a profit-making organisation – we wanted to run the home as an extension of the Ipswich St Raphael Club, but we can't afford to run it any more," said Mr Shields.

He said they had given themselves two months to find new homes for the elderly residents, some of whom are disabled. "We are very sad that staff are going to be losing their jobs."

Mr Shields said they had reluctantly made the decision to close because it would be too expensive to comply with new legislation which requires various improvements to residential homes.

Because St Raphael is a small home with a small number of residents, the income from its fees is not enough to pay for the building work which would be necessary, he said.

"We can't put the fees up again because we put them up last year and the residents just couldn't afford it."

He said social services was helping to find new homes for the residents and doing everything possible.

But he added: "This is not an isolated situation. Many other homes have made the decision to close."

Two homes for the elderly in Felixstowe closed in the last few months – the Sun Vale and Golden Sunset homes. The owner of Sun Vale, Larry Graham, warned he was closing the home because of the cost of meeting new Government regulations.

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