Residents, their relatives and staff at one of City of York Council’s Older People’s Homes – Willow House – are being consulted on the option to close the home in early 2017, as part of plans to modernise accommodation for older people in the city.
The Council says that, “the plans seek to address the needs of York’s fast-growing older population, by providing modern facilities which allow high quality care and quality of life. It also aims to make the best use of the city’s existing Extra Care housing, making it more accessible for people with higher care needs by increasing the support available at each venue and by replacing the council’s five out-dated Older People’s Homes, with more modern accommodation”.
Two city centre homes (Oliver House & Grove House) have already been sold by the Council. Willow House, located within a stones throw of the City Walls is likely to command a substantial price when marketed.
There will, however, be concerns that specialist properties specifically designed for older people – and with good access to a full range of amenities – are being lost.
In Acomb, the Council faces a major backlash over its plans to build on the Lowfields school sports fields. Residents had expected that site to be allocated for older people as it is also located very close to the amenities which exist on Front Street
A Council media release goes on to say,
“Each of the council’s Older People’s Homes was assessed against a number of criteria to determine which homes should be consulted on for closure first. Two Older People’s Homes – Grove House and Oakhaven – closed earlier this year as part of the programme and this week, Executive is being asked to approve plans for the sale of Grove House to generate additional capital to support the programme.
The criteria covered:
- Whether there were any serious physical problems with the building which could impact on the quality of care provided to residents
- Whether the site had potential alternative uses which will support the wider Older People’s Accommodation Programme
- Whether there were any residents living at the home who had already been moved from another CYC older person’s home which had been closed
- The size of the home, with smaller homes struggling to provide a cost-efficient service to residents.
None of the Older People’s Homes were found to have serious physical problems with the buildings, so the decision was based on the other three criteria. Willow House was chosen as the next home to be consulted on re closure because:
- Willow House is one of the smaller homes with 23 permanent residents
- Only a very small number of residents have moved home previously as part of the programme
- Should Willow House close, the location of the site means that it would be likely to generate a significant capital receipt if sold, helping to fund the wider Older People’s Accommodation Programme and so benefit more older people in the city.
Michael Melvin, Assistant Director, Adult Social Care, City of York Council, said: “We recognise that this consultation process can be an unsettling and upsetting one and we will be working closely with the residents, staff and their families, to make sure they have the support and advice they need. Residents and staff at Willow House are rightly proud of their home, however, it is vital that we keep the aims of the wider Older People’s Accommodation Programme in sight.
“The programme looks to ensure that we are able to help older people to remain independent in their own home as long as possible, providing them with a wide choice of accommodation to meet their needs. Our residents are of paramount importance and the actions we take now will ensure that they – and future generations – will have the best possible quality of life and ensure that we can meet the needs of York’s ageing population. This consultation is another step closer to achieving the goal of modernising accommodation for older people in York.”
Residents, their relatives and staff have already been informed of the proposals and will be consulted on their views and any preferences they have about where they would like to move to should the home be closed, over the next six weeks.
The results of the consultations will be presented to the Executive on Thursday 24 November. Willow House also hosts day drop-in services for people with leaning disabilities in a self contained space. These service users will be consulted separately on proposed changes at Willow House”.