Why we are proposing to close or change 11 of our care homes

Post from Alice Maynard, Chair of Scope

Scope is coming under criticism for its proposals to close or change 11 care homes over the next few years.

As Chair, I’d like to try to explain why we’ve put these plans forward.

Scope runs many services for disabled people and their families – including almost 40 care homes.

Most of our care homes were opened in the 1960s or 70s.

At that time it was standard practice to bring lots of disabled people together, usually with only their impairments in common, to live in large institutions, out of the community, where organisations provided them with the support to do basic things.

Times have changed.

And many disabled people’s aspirations have changed. But they’re having to drag society along with them.

More and more disabled people, particularly younger disabled people, are opting to live in the community, with support from staff they choose, using their own personal budgets.

Councils are responding by opening different kinds of services.

As a result we’re finding there’s less and less demand for places at large residential care homes.

Care homes like this are therefore very likely to close in the long term.

And that leaves organisations like Scope with a tough choice.

Do we sit and watch while these homes gather more and more vacancies until they become unviable and we’re left with no choice but to close them in a hurry?

Or do we make the decision now, so that we can close these homes in the best possible way?

We’re proposing to make the changes in a number of slow phases, which include formal consultations, over the next few years.

We know many residents have lived in the homes a long time, and we understand that the proposals have caused a lot of anxiety. We’re proposing to do this in a number of slow phases, which include formal consultations, over the next few years.

We want to give residents and families time to ask questions and for them to understand the proposals.

We have been talking to residents and families since October last year – and we will continue to do so.

This includes investing in independent advocacy for every resident, to make sure each individual understands what these proposals mean for them and can have a say about what they want for the future.

People ask me if we’re pushing independent living for all the residents.

But I don’t believe in one-size-fits all support.

Every individual in our care homes has different needs and different wishes.

It’s really early days. We can’t predict where and with whom they will want to live if the homes do close.

But we guarantee we will support people to work with the councils who fund their care and support to move on to their new homes.

If you have any questions about these proposals, please contact feedback@scope.org.uk.

10 thoughts on “Why we are proposing to close or change 11 of our care homes”

  1. What a shame that only choice that Scope is NOT offering the affected Residents is to stay where they are and with their friends. Scope is blindly staggering onwards with closures regardless of the Residents Human Rights to stay with their “families”. The Chair do Scope ought to be ashamed and hand back her gong. She is destroying families without any shame.

  2. Alice, at last we hear your views but oh how so disappointing to know that even you are towing the party line and espousing the virtues of non-existent and inappropriate services for some of our society’s most vulnerable middle and older aged profoundly disabled people. We all acknowledge that times have changed and the needs and the ways to meet the needs of younger disabled people have changed. But, what SCOPE continues to repeatedly ignore is that we as family members and friends of severely disabled adults who have only in the main known residential care and have not had integrated MDT services from birth, know that our relatives are choosing to live in their long-standing communities. We also know that by today’s values, many of these communities don’t fit with the ideology of supported living for younger people. What are SCOPE residential homes and their staff not offering our relatives that they could be getting elsewhere, as thus far since Oct 2013 when SCOPE chose to shatter the world of so many, we have not found anything anywhere near comparable to the Drummonds centre? No where we have found has on-site adult education classes, visiting library, a pool, evening social entertainment, gives people the choice of which group to have dinner in or where to go out and about to, or has a pub and church at the end of the drive.p like Drummonds does.

    LA’s are not investing in new services, this is totally misleading and even Mr. Hawkes in his hour of glory on Radio 4 today could only cite SCOPE having invested in two four bedroomed supported living units in the past 12 months, hardly significant investment when 190 or so people face being homeless in the next two years, wouldn’t you agree?

    Can we please get away from discussing what young disabled people want, we don’t disagree with you on this. But please acknowledge that you know the homes you are closing have hardly anyone the right side of 30 living in them and as vacancies arise, at least consolidate the homes and keep sufficient places funded and enhanced to sustain your customers (people) for the rest of their natural lives. Don’t grow the homes but at least keep a core of them in existence for the very people we know need them and want them, i.e our relatives.

    SCOPE is turning it’s’ back on a class of disabled people who appear to be no longer fitting the ideal care profile, i.e. young disabled people) and effectively have become too disabled for SCOPE. It appears ageism as well as disablism has somehow crept into an organisation who was established for society’s most vulnerable. Which Chief Executive was allowed to get it so wrong I wonder and who will have the gumption to stand up and put it right?

  3. Scope still does not “get it”!! We feel that our relatives are being let down. It’s all very well to say that disabled people do not want to live in care homes with lots of other people, but I can assure you that for the “older” disabled person, who has lived in one of your care homes for many years, this is the type of environment that they thrive on. There is always something going on, people to watch. Many of them are only able to “look and listen” independently, and need total support in all other aspects of life. You are, in effect, saying that they cannot live with their friends or be cared for by the staff that they trust – you will be ruining their lives – can you live with that thought? Scope should develop these care homes so that they become more “in line” with the vision. Put yourselves in the position the residents find themselves in – how would you feel? We have to speak up for our family members – many of them are unable to speak for themselves, or they are misunderstood due to communication difficulties.

  4. Hi Alice,

    I’m sorry but I simply do not by this for a second. I don’t even by that ‘younger disabled’ people now do not want to live in homes. I don’t believe age has anything to do with if people live in a home or not. My sister is only 33 and she does not live in a home because of her age, and she certainly does not live in a home because it was ‘all that was available to disabled people in the past’. My sister lives in a home because she needs round the clock care and cannot do ANYTHING for herself. It is only in such homes that she can reliably get such care and that she can be continually stimulated and can engage in appropriate activities EVERY DAY.

    You say these homes will not be needed in the future – well if that is the case, why do other care home providers, such as Lenard Cheshire have a waiting list? And do you know what, even if they wont be needed in the future they are now! If eventually care homes are not needed as you say, this might be 10, 20 years away. Why are you punishing residents now when some of them might have been able to stay in their homes for the rest of their lives?

    After reading your comments and having been to numerous meetings these are the arguments you are putting forward and my counter argument:

    Many of these closures are only a ‘proposal’ – But you categorically state you know longer want to run homes. Therefore they are clearly not ‘proposal’.

    You say we can suggest alternatives to closure for our homes – but you cant say what alternatives you will consider.

    You are closing the homes because you want residents to have a choice about where they live – but you wont let them stay in their homes. Therefore they do not have a choice.

    You say you are closing these homes because they are no longer wanted – but the current residents want them and other homes have a waiting list.

    You say you are closing the homes because ‘disabled people tell you’ they want to live in the community – well these disabled people tell you they want to live in their home (& as it’s them that live in the homes I think their opinions are more important than any other disabled persons)

    You are closing the homes because you want residents to live independently – but say for those that cannot or do not want to live independently you will find them a different residential home.

    You are closing the homes because they are outdated and institutions – but my sisters home got an outstanding report from the Care Quality Commission and although the building might be old, the attitude of staff and activities inside are certainly not.

    You are closing the homes because you want disabled people to be part of the community – My sisters home has about 4 minibuses which regularly take the residents to the local community center, restaurant, swimming pool etc.

    So I’m sorry Scope, your reasons simply do not make sense.

    LEAVE THESE HOMES OPEN – PLEASE!

  5. I don’t believe it,The Chair of Scope, that wonderful charity that has given so much to C P people over half a century is now prepared to say to some of the most disabled people in this country, I know you have built up friendships and groups over the last 30 years but now we Scope are going to cast all that asunder ,separate you from your friends carers, and family then leave you weeping silently for what you once had.the friends that were your life, but are no more!
    Cast off like an unwanted toffee paper.

    The Councils are building new facilities, who? where? when? tell me more..
    Mildly disabled people can benefit from nearly all that the world has to offer.
    The profoundly disabled need and choose to live in communities’ of 30 or more.
    A three bed home will be for them a well of loneliness.

  6. Better minds than mine are trying to get Scope to face reality, so I will talk of just one thing,

    Scope have no idea ,no concept of the enormity of the act of taking a profoundly disabled person who has no speech, no controlled movement ,out of a group in which they are happy, away from lifetime friends, away from carers that they know and trust ,away from their family, away from the familiar environment.in which they have flourished,

    No reasonable person would do that to a fit and healthy person, to do that to the sort of people I speak of is shear mindless vandalism.

    Come on Alice I know your not that hard hearted.

    Its ironic that seriously dangerous convicted foreign criminals can avoid deportation back to their home country if they able to show that they have family living in the U.K ( Human rights Act). surely that same act can prevent my daughters deportation from Drummonds.

    If numbers are falling( I await confirmation of that) at Scope Homes there are many alternatives to closing,

    Drummonds in particular due to its construction could easily be reduced in size and would still be viable
    Frank Lindsell

  7. I am here, reading these distressing comments, only because I wrote to Scope yesterday after the Radio 4 “Today” programme interview to express my views as a concerned member of the public. Here is what I wrote. Even after reading Alice Maynard’s words above, I stand by these words.

    —–

    Dear Scope

    As a dispassionate radio listener to this morning’s Today programme with no axe to grind about the work of Scope and no connection with it, I feel compelled to write to you to express how angry and depressed this morning’s interview with Richard Hawkes, your Chief Executive, made me feel.

    Whatever gloss you may wish to put upon what was said, the overwhelming impression was that Scope is not listening to the voices of at least one group of residents in a long-established care home and is prepared to implement a bareley defensible policy of “care in the community” in defiance of their wishes and those of their families, creating distress and uncertainty in the process.

    The arguments mounted in defence of your plans were thin. The points made by both the interviewer and the mother of a care home resident who had been invited to discuss the issue with Mr Hawkes were far stronger, all the more so for the clear and unemotional logic with which they were expressed and for the research which underpinned them. It was particularly harrowing to hear one middle-aged resident say, through an interpreter, that she felt scared by what Scope was proposing. That she should find herself in a position to say this is deeply worrying.

    I would urge you to listen again to the recording of this piece and to consider the point made towards the end, that such residential homes are, in effect, intentional communities, necessary places of safety, companionship and belonging which, in spite of Mr Hawkes’ assertions about what your customers want these days, are obviously the only home that some of them need or have known. For centuries, communities of one kind or another have been places of refuge for the vulnerable in this country. The model is tried and tested and it works. The alternative, so-called care in the community raises a host of worrying questions and, in the minds of many upon whom it has been foisted in recent years, has yet to prove itself as a viable alternative.

    The desire of those interviewed for this morning’s broadcast to stay where they were was powerfully and eloquently made. I am sure I cannot be the only member of the public who heard this morning’s programme and who wants to say to you, quite simply, don’t take from those you are supposed to care for the only home they have known, even in the name of “progress”.

    I should be most grateful if you would ensure that a copy of this email reaches your Chief Executive, whose email address I could not find on your website. I note, however, that change.org has a petition against the closure of Hampton House. I shall, this morning, be joining the 1,228 people who have already signed it.

    Yours sincerely,

    David Ash

  8. Finally a Trustee has responded. How many times have we written to the Trustees asking them why they have made this decision. None of them had the common decency to answer us! Frankly your explanation is just the same old, same old just mixing the words around. In the past I have also questioned why none of the Trustees have ever set foot inside any of the homes. But low and behold two visited last week and I was quietly optimistic that at last they wanted to see my sister and her friends and get to know them and understand why they love it at Hampton House and to see they are content and happy. BUT NO – guess what they are having a new electronic front door! WHY? I wish I knew! They do not need a new front door. Their front door is perfectly adequate. Why Scope do you want to spend an awful lot of money on a door when the building won’t be in existence, as far as your are concerned this time next year. What a waste of money! I can think of many, many things that my sister and her friends would benefit from but a new front door is not top of the list! I am not sure you are all thinking straight – it’s utterly ludicrous! These are the people in charge of decision making and all they can come up with is a new door! Let them stay in their home Scope – leave them in peace!

  9. ,Many parents/families of Scopes homes residents are on the edge of mental breakdowns ,yet still Scope push us ever nearer the abyss .
    Why ?

    I ask the Chair of Scope to talk to the parents /families

    Then you will see the degree of unhappiness you are causing to us all by your actions.

    Scope has lost its founders vision.

    Scope has lost it heart.

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