Care home is saved as funding bid fails

Christine Seal, Florence shipley home, Heanor.
Christine Seal, Florence shipley home, Heanor.

A HEANOR care home looks set to be saved from demolition for now after a bid forcash to build a new ‘super care centre’ for the elderly failed.

Derbyshire County Council had asked for £106.7m from central government to build six new ‘super care centres’ for the elderly in the county.

The Florence Shipley care home in Heanor was earmarked as a possible site for one of the centres.

But last week the authority was told it would not be receiving the money due to budget cuts within the Department of Health – despite having had it provisionally agreed.

This week, county council strategic director for Adult Care Bill Robertson said he was ‘disappointed’ at not receiving the grant.

He said: “One of our top priorities is planning for the future of older people in Derbyshire and the rise in the number of people with dementia forecast over the coming years.

“The funding of six new community care centres, in addition to the one we have already built and one currently being developed, would have made a major contribution to the delivery of our future plans.”

However, Mr Robertson said it was ‘too early to say’ whether the super care centre plan would be shelved altogether. He added that there was nothing flawed about the bid itself.

The Florence Shipley home was set to be bulldozed and one of the new centres built in its place. It was to be modelled on a state of the art 32-bed care centre in Staveley, near Chesterfield, that has already been built. The facility, featuring a salon, bar and en-suite bathrooms was intended to help connect the elderly patients with a wider community.

Outline planning permission was granted to develop the Florence Shipley care home, on Heanor Market Place, on March 14.

Christine Seal, 62, from Egreaves Avenue in Loscoe visits her mother, 84-year-old Mary Marriott, there daily. She said she was relieved the funding bid had failed, adding: “My mother likes it here and we like it here because we can go up every day.

“The quality of care is all right. We are glad that it is not closing for the time being at least. She knows everyone there.”

A key inspection by the Quality Care Commission in 2008 of Derbyshire’s homes revealed that only four of the 27 homes in Derbyshire were ‘excellent’ in standard.

This week Mr Robertson supported the inspection’s claims, saying: “Many of our homes do not provide the type of accommodation we aspire to offer in the future.”

However, he said that refurbishing the existing 27 homes was still an option. A report published by the council in August 2010 suggested that the Florence Shipley home would have cost more than £2m for a complete refurbishment.