Two Hoots care home in Thornton Heath 'closed by red tape'

BIG grins, waves and laughs all round, meet the Two Hoots family – a group of disabled adults, pictured during one of their many days out.

But changes to Government funding – branded "red tape gone mad" – mean excursions like this will soon be confined to the photo album.

Two Hoots, in Melfort Road, Thornton Heath, has been funded by the council as a Shared Lives scheme and taken care of adults with learning disabilities since 1981.

The ten people living there think of themselves as a big happy family.

But they have now been told they must leave for other homes, despite the fact that many of them have lived there for years - one resident ever since it opened.

Owner Richard Roberts was told by the council the Shared Lives scheme was no longer appropriate to support ten residents due to changes in legislation, and that they would either have to register as a care home or supportive lodgings or close.

He said: "I didn't think registering as a care home was appropriate because it would be wildly expensive and I would not be able to live on the premises.

"The council have tried to help as best they can but unfortunately I have no choice but to close the doors – it is a very sad situation."

The families of the residents in the home are protesting against the closure, claiming that it could severely affect the welfare of the occupants.

"It's an absolute tragedy," said Wendy Stewart, sister-in-law of Denise Stewart, 46, who has lived at the home for 12 years.

"They have all been crying about being split up. Denise was so depressed in her other placements, but here she has been truly happy.

"This is red tape gone mad."

Sanjay Purohit, whose brother Davesh, 41, has lived at the home for 19 years, added: "All this is being taken away because the residents cannot stand up and voice their opinion.

"These are adults, but mentally, they are children. Can you imagine the thought of taking children away from their homes and their families and tossing them out into the uncertain world?"

The council must now rehouse the residents under different schemes, which will mean a much higher cost for their care.

A spokesman said: "The council is not closing Two Hoots but we are responsible for ensuring that it meets current legislation. In order for it to remain open and running we suggested a number of options that the owner could take to secure its future.

"The unit has been exceptionally well-run for many years, but as the clients have got older their needs have changed.

"The future of Two Hoots has to be determined by the owner, who has been extremely helpful but has made it clear they do not want to take up the options that would allow it to remain open."


Sourced from This Is Croydon Today, 4th April 2012.