Mid Wales

Bodlondeb Aberystwyth home closure would leave 'huge hole'

Bodlondeb Image copyright Google
Image caption Bodlondeb staff say they found out about the proposed closure via social media

The closure of a residential home would leave a "huge hole" in care provision in mid Wales, the GMB union has warned.

A report to Ceredigion's scrutiny committee on Friday recommended shutting Bodlondeb in Aberystwyth, with the loss of 33 jobs.

If closed, its 13 residents would have to move to other homes - potentially long distances away.

The council's scrutiny committee said full council should decide whether to launch a consultation on the closure.

Members recommended a 12-week consultation to start in July.

Staff at Bodlondeb told BBC Wales they found out about the proposed closure via social media.

They said the report went online before staff were told, with employees receiving letters after the document had been published and highlighted on social media.

Image caption Care Forum Wales said councils must be prepared to pay a viable rate for residents

One employee said it was "disgraceful" the document was linked to via Facebook on Monday before residents, families and staff were informed.

"Total lack of respect shown for any of us," they added.

Ceredigion council said it had contacted residents and families on Tuesday and Wednesday, and had met regularly with unions and staff.

"This is a very sensitive matter for all involved," a spokeswoman added.

A GMB spokeswoman said it and Unison had successfully campaigned against the home's closure in 2011.

"We are disappointed at this latest decision, the news of which was broken to both unions at the same time as letters were being sent out to staff," she said.

"Indeed, some staff saw the plans on social media.

"This decision will result in a lack of necessary social care in this area."

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Media captionElwyn Williams says his brother will be heartbroken if Bodlondeb shuts

Elwyn Williams from Aberystwyth, whose brother has lived at the home for six years, said the closure would "break his heart" and he was concerned residents may all be relocated separately.

"They all know each other. There'll be three here, three there, two somewhere else. All their hearts will be broken," he said.

"I think people are starting to wonder whether it's worth fighting for this, but we will."

The report said Bodlondeb had been operating at a loss of nearly £400,000 per year - more than £7,600 per week.

It has 44 beds but only 26 are registered as the rest do not comply with standards.

If the report is approved and agreed by cabinet members next Tuesday, new admissions to the home would cease immediately and a final decision would be made after the consultation.

Care Forum Wales interim chief executive Mary Wimbury said: "We so often see local authorities spending more per resident in their own care homes than they are prepared to spend on those at care homes in the private sector so they have to appreciate that they need to be prepared to pay a viable rate.

"We're sad to hear about a possible disruption to the lives of frail elderly people and of their families and friends who visit them.

"The welfare of those people still resident at Bodlondeb needs to be of paramount concern."

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