A good Facebook friend sent me the following link yesterday. Right from the off, the alarm bells should be ringing so violently as to give Quasimodo the hump. The story is about plans to build a “40 bed supported living centre” in Northumberland. (Actually, it’s 40 “units” not 40 beds. The planning application shows that the majority of the units will be 2 beds, so we’re talking likely 80 beds here).
How many readers of this blog live in their own home that happens to have 40 beds? They are not calling it a home – it’s a “centre”. How many readers of this blog live in a Centre? It cannot possibly be supported living as we know it. It’s a mixed up jumble of words that reeks of exploitation. Exploitation of our language. Exploitation of the people intended to live in the centre.
I tried to look up Lenore Specialist Care but surprisingly they don’t have a website. So, is the 40 unit centre their first foray into the world of social care housing provision? If it was, then we could at least put this down to well intentioned ignorance. Unfortunately not. There’s a Lenore Care Home in Whitley Bay, so it must be run by the same company. The Registered Manager of the Lenore Care Home is a Miss Laura Jane Murray. The Service Manager for the new 40 unit facility is Miss Laura Murray Walton. Surely that must be the same person. Here is a link to the CQC Inspection report – http://www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-112142265
One thing that leapt out at me, considering that 40+ beds are the proposal are that the existing care home has 23 beds. Scrolling through the report, the CQC casually acknowledge that for a day shift at the 23 bed facility, there is one manager on duty and two support staff. The residents can’t possibly go anywhere during the day with staff ratios so pitifully low. Don’t the CQC pay attention to details like this? So, that’s their form. The chances are the new centre will be staffed along similar lines.
Now it gets even more fascinating. Here are the three directors of Lenore care Specialists as registered with Companies House:
Hang about a minute. That name Maddison rings a bell. Move your mouse back to the first link in this post and reread the news article. A Lee Maddison is the project leader from Kendal House Properties will oversee the development and construction of the new facility. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that a chap with the same name as a director from the company who will be running the new 40 unit centre, happens to be a director of the company who will building the facility. Let’s go back to Companies House and this time look at Kendal House Properties:
Well blow me down – it’s the same three directors as Lenore Care Specialists! There can be no doubt that the company given the contract for building the 2016 institution has the strongest possible links with the company who will be running the place when it is built.
I’ll just post one more link that popped up in the Google search. I won’t make any comment besides praying to God that it is not the same pair again – http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/suspects-held-after-dirty-money-1469100
Oh. And Crapita are sniffing around hoping to provide the staff to work in the place – http://www.capitaspecialistrecruitment.co.uk/news/new-adult-support-facility-to-create-100-jobs-in-north-tyneside-17631
The final facepalm moment is the other player involved in the plans. The money for this project is coming from Triodos Bank, whose USP is that they are an “ethical bank”.
Discovering all this last night, I laid awake in bed feeling very nauseous and very frightened.
I woke at 5.30 this morning with the a thought bouncing around my head. Many many times in this blog, I have posed the question “what happens to our young learning disabled people when they hit 16?” I’ve even put a call out for a willing academic to do some research on the subject.
The thought this morning was – suppose nothing happens.
Well, nothing beyond the normal anxiety that every 16 year old experiences as they start to think about leaving school and preparing for adult life.
Up until 16, the person attends and has the familiarity of school. Hopefully, they have had parents who look out for them and where they still have parental responsibility.
And then BAMM. From swimming in the reasonably protected pool, the gates fling open and each person is boomeranged into shark infested waters. Sharks like St Andrews, Lenore Care Specialists and the hundreds of others around the country who only hear the sound of kerching. The gate slams firmly on the parents and families and the person is left at the mercy of Jaws. Without a Roy Schneider.
If I’m right, that makes me even more nauseous and beside myself with terror.
And I don’t even live in Whitby.