Staff and residents of Thackeray Place in Limavady say they have no other option but to remain hopeful the care home will be saved from closure.
Thackeray is one of a number of NHS residential care homes currently under review, and staff say the uncertaintly surrounding the home’s future is causing stress and anxiety among its 32 residents.
“We have to remain hopeful; that’s all we can do,” one worker protesting outside the Roe valley Arts Centre said yesterday, as a private meeting was underway inside between local councillors, health service officials and Fionnuala McAndrew, who is tasked with leading a new review of care homes.
“It has been very stressful for the residents and for staff, but we’re doing our best to comfort everyone,” said the worker.
Resident Peggy Heaney, aged 85, has been resident of Thackeray Place for two years.
“The last few months have been terrible. Thackeray is our home and we don’t want them to close it,” said Ms Heaney. “God bless us if we have to go into another home where would we find the extra money to pay for it?”
Ms McAndrew and Alan Corry Finn of the Western Trust met briefly with those at the protest yesterday when Thackeray resident Gertie Mullan says she told Ms McAndrew “Thackeray is our home”.
“I asked her what lengths she would go to to protect her home? I mean, where would I go? I’m almost 90. We are simply interested in protecting our home,” said Gertie. “The staff are marvellous and it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, at Thackeray we are all family.”
SDLP councillors Gerry Mullan and Michael Coyle; Sinn Fein Colr. Anne Brolly; UUP Colr. Jack Rankin; and DUP Colrs. Alan Robinson and George Robinson attended the Arts Centre meeting with Limavady Council chief executive Liam Flanigan.
Speaking afterwards, the SDLP councillors said in a joint statement: “Nothing was said which addressed the future of Thackeray Place which was the reason why we attended the meeting in the first place, and why there remains a high level of concern about the intentions of the Minister Edwin Poots.”
The SDLP statement continued: “The case for the retention of Thackeray Place is crystal clear and should not be confused by whatever long-term plans the Western Health and Social Services Trust has for the overall development of care in the community.”