Spend needed to bring home up to scratch
HUNDREDS of people packed out a village hall last Wednesday night to make clear their opposition to the possible closure of an Anglesey care home.
The future of the councilrun Haulfre home in Llangoed was revealed to be under threat in June.
A council report found 21 areas in need of improvement, 16 of which were deemed to be “essential”, including substantial fire risks.
As a result, a full consultation on the future of the home was carried out, much to the anger of local campaigners who cited “a history of chronic underspending” and urged the cash-strapped council to spend the estimated £1.5m needed to bring the facility up to scratch.
Local members Carwyn Jones and Lewis Davies made passionate pleas to keep Haulfre open at the meeting in Llangoed Village Hall, which was attended by about 200 people.
Fellow local councillor and cabinet member Alwyn Rowlands stated he supported “whatever needed to be done” to retain the home.
Cllr Rowlands also read out a letter of support from Albert Owen MP.
Anglesey council has long made known its intention of implementing a number of extra care schemes on the island over the coming years, replacing many of the current residential care homes.
But, as was revealed by head of adult services Alwyn Jones, £18,000 has been spent on fire protection and additional staff at Haulfre over recent months to alleviate some of the most pressing concerns.
Gwen Carrington, the authority’s social services director, noted that the consultation was looking at the future of care in the Seiriol ward and not an exercise to close Haulfre.
She went on to say that it was the “sincere hope” of council officers that the home could be kept open until around 2019/20, when it was envisaged that a new extra care facility could replace it in the area.
But Mrs Carrington said: “This cannot come at any cost, and the health and safety of the residents must come first.”
Many in attendance, includi ing Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, questioned the very need to continue with the consultation at all if the most serious health and safety risks had been alleviated.
Many also expressed their wish to keep Haulfre open as a residential facility for the fores seeable future, claiming that e extra care facilities were not suitable for some of the most vulnerable older people.
Council leader Ieuan Williams defended the council’s £1.5m “smarter working” project, claiming the scheme to invest in Llangefni’s council offices was one that would ensure long-term savings as the council planned to close a number of satellite offices on the island.
But many claimed that the money would be better spent protecting Anglesey’s care home provision.
A full report with officers’ recommendations over the future of Haulfre is expected to be presented to Anglesey council’s executive next month.