Buyer found for closure-threatened Southend care home

By Barry Toberman, September 14, 2012

Jewish Care’s Southend residential home, Raymond House, looks set to be saved.

The charity announced this week that a preferred buyer had been found for the home, which has been under threat of closure. If the sale goes through, Jewish Care’s involvement will cease. But Jewish Care chief executive Simon Morris stressed that any agreement would “contain commitments from the buyer that will protect the Jewish character of the home, including the provision of kosher meals for Jewish residents. The buyer would intend to recruit new residents into the home, who could be Jewish or non-Jewish.”

Charity chair Steven Lewis expected negotiations to continue for some weeks. “Both parties would like to make progress as quickly as possible in order to end the uncertainty for everybody concerned about the future of the home. We will update everyone on developments as soon as there is something further to report”.

In May, Jewish Care announced plans to close the 38-bed home, which had sustained “continual and substantial losses over a long period of time”. It said research among the local community had found that Raymond House no longer met “its needs or expectations” and that people felt the facilities were “outdated”.

However, local supporters urged the charity to delay closure in the hope of finding a buyer and a working group of Jewish Care and Southend community members was formed to explore options for keeping Raymond House open.

The working group was said to be “extremely happy” with the potential sale, given that the home’s Jewish character would be maintained. But uncertainty over the home’s future has reduced occupancy to 16 — there were 25 residents at the time of Jewish Care’s original announcement.

Mr Morris emphasised the charity’s ongoing commitment to Southend, where its other involvements include the local Jewish Community Centre, a home support group, activities for those with dementia and the Shebson Lodge flats, enabling the elderly to live independently.

Last updated: 4:59pm, October 16 2012