Sheltered housing charity denies giving elderly residents two weeks to leave their homes

The Northern Echo: CLOSURE NOTICE: Mitchell House sheltered accomodation, in Thirsk CLOSURE NOTICE: Mitchell House sheltered accomodation, in Thirsk

A SHELTERED housing charity has dismissed claims it gave elderly residents just two weeks to leave one of its retirement properties.

The Abbeyfield Thirsk and Sowerby Society said while all but one of the six residents of Mitchell House, in Thirsk, had moved out since being notice on November 18, they could have stayed at the property for two months.

The family of Joan Haywood, 82, who moved to Mitchell House nine years ago, said they had been appalled the residents had been asked to decide within five days if they wanted to move to the society’s other nearby home, The Limes, in Sowerby, or find alternative accommodation.

Mrs Haywood’s daughter, Amanda, said within two weeks of first being told Mitchell House, which provided residents with two meals a day and a range of activities, was to close, her mother had moved into The Limes.

Amanda Haywood said: “She didn’t have time to think about where she was going and was tearful about having to leave the home she moved to after my father died.

“At Mitchell House she was exceptionally happy and had a sitting room and kitchenette, on top of the bedroom and bathroom she has at The Limes, but will eventually pay £300 a month more at her new home.

“Abbeyfield made no attempt to contact residents’ families about this and we have been shocked by the speed at which it has been done.”

The volunteer-run society, which was established in 1969 and is part of a national movement to tackle loneliness and isolation among older people, said it felt five days was a sufficient length of time for residents to decide if they wanted to move to The Limes.

The society’s chairman Mark Robson, who is also leader of Hambleton District Council, said the society had gone over and above what it needed to do, including moving residents to The Limes free of charge and offering them discounted rents for four years.

He said: “Both homes have been running well below capacity because of the type of care they provide and even if Mitchell House was full we would still have been losing money.

“People are staying in their houses longer and then when they do leave they need a greater level of care than is provided at these houses.

“This has not been an overnight decision and we gave the residents the statutory two months’ notice to vacate.

“If they took the option of The Limes, which has more modern facilities, I asked them to think about the principle of moving earlier.

“Should they have wished not to move they could have served out their notice.”


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