Sunderland's Donna Claire respite centre to close

A Sunderland respite care home which was saved from closure three years ago is to shut.

The Donna Claire Venture, in Seaburn, which is used by people with physical disabilities, was saved in 2008 following a fundraising appeal.

But its founders said the current financial climate had made it impossible to continue and it will close on 19 December.

Co-founder Geraldine Plunkett described the decision as "devastating".

She set up the charity with Audrey Turnbull 27 years ago and the centre opened 20 years ago.

She said: "We have had 20 wonderful years with our guests and their families and enormous support from so many people.

"This present financial climate is not conducive to what we do."

'Feel privileged'

She said the closure was down to rising costs and the knock-on effect of local authorities facing budget cuts.

The centre has space to look after five people at a time and has cared for hundreds of people over the years.

In 2008, it was saved after a £100,000 fundraising appeal.

Butt Miss Plunkett ruled out launching a similar appeal this time.

She said: "Audrey and I can't imagine life without it.

"People actively chose to come here which is one of the greatest accolades.

"We feel very privileged that we have been able to do something that we wanted to do and enjoyed doing."

She said the aim was to help their guests enjoy their time for the final weeks the home is open.

More on this story