Loss-making Southend care home to close

By Jessica Elgot and Cathy Forman, May 3, 2012
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Jewish Care's Raymond House residential home in Southend is to close as soon as places can be found elsewhere for its 25 residents. The news was broken to residents and staff this week.

The charity said the 38-place home had suffered "continued and substantial losses over a long period of time," £300,000 in the last financial year alone.

Comprehensive research among local Jewry in 2010 found Raymond House "no longer meets the needs or expectations of the Southend community". The feeling was that the facilities were "outdated", the fees "uncompetitive".

Jewish Care chief executive Simon Morris said the closure decision in no way reflected the quality of the care provided.

Staff will be offered vacancies in other Jewish Care establishments - the nearest is the Vi and John Rubens home in Ilford, some 30 miles away. Those who cannot find a suitable alternative within Jewish Care will be offered a redundancy package.

"The well-being of our residents is our highest priority," said Neil Taylor, director of care and community services. "We will assist in residents' relocation to alternative homes which will include other Jewish Care homes, as well as Jewish-style and other care homes in Southend."

Jewish Care chair Steven Lewis said it had been an "extremely hard" decision to take "as everyone recognises the impact that this will have on our residents, their families and staff and volunteers at the home".

Norman Zetter, 76 - whose 82-year-old sister is a Raymond House resident - was "devastated" by the news, which he received in a phone call from Mr Morris on Monday.

Also chair of Jewish Care's local support group, the Southend Aid Society, Mr Zetter was "very disappointed for the individuals living there and for the community. It's the only kosher care home in Southend."

He thought his sister's children would want their mother to remain in Southend, close to other family members.

Last updated: 6:40pm, May 3 2012