Fight goes on to save axed care home for elderly

CAN IT BE SAVED? -- the Marlstones home in Bulwell for the elderly.

CAN IT BE SAVED? -- the Marlstones home in Bulwell for the elderly.

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PROTESTERS say the fight isn’t over after a decision to close the Marlstones care home in Bulwell was ratified by Nottingham City Council.

The axe is to fall on the popular home on Aldgate Close, meaning 38 pensioners will face the upheaval moving out.

A popular day-centre based at the site will also shut down.

The decisions are part of moves by the council to shave £21 million from its budget in the wake of funding cuts from central government.

But campaigners, backed by the Nottingham branch of the union UNISON and the pressure group Nottinghamshire Save Our Services (Notts SOS), say they will continue the battle to save the Marlstones.

A public meeting is to be held on Thursday March 15 (6.30 pm) at St John’s Church on Keys Close, Bulwell.

Bulwell members of the city council have been invited.

Annoyed relatives include Norma Keaton, the niece of 97-year-old Rose Ball, who is a resident of the Marlstones but has yet to be told it will close.

“We feel angry and upset,” said Norma. “To move Rose and other residents will have a devastating effect. We feel we have just been fobbed off by the council.”

Adrian Picton, of the Nottingham city branch of UNISON, said: “It is hard to overestimate the effects of this closure on the community.”

He added: “Research has shown that the death-rate among elderly people in residential care increases when they are moved.

“Reports from the home suggest that a number of the residents are already extremely upset at the thought of moving. Two have already died since the announcement, although we obviously cannot prove this is the cause.”

The decision to close the Marlstones was rubberstamped at a meeting of the city council on Monday.

It will save the council £200,00 a year in running costs at a site it says is outdated.

UNISON and Notts SOS protested at the meeting about other cuts, as well as the closure of the Marlstones.

One councillor allegedly refused to accept a petition of 500 names handed over by a representative of families with relatives at the Marlstones.

Coun Graham Chapman (Lab), deputy leader of the city council, said: “With the work of councillors and officers, we’ve come up with a robust set of proposals which tries to protect services and the most vulnerable.”

He added: “We’ve done well to protect frontline services. However, with cuts of the size and scale we face, we can’t protect everything — and that’s only going to get worse unless the government changes course and stops unfairly hitting cities hardest.”