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Families stunned at shock decision to close facility over £1.9m debt

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 04/04/2015

Families with relatives in Stewart Memorial Care Home in Bangor were plunged into uncertainty last November when it was announced it would close its doors. Picture posed
Families with relatives in Stewart Memorial Care Home in Bangor were plunged into uncertainty last November when it was announced it would close its doors. Picture posed

Families with relatives in Stewart Memorial Care Home in Bangor were plunged into uncertainty last November when it was announced it would close its doors.

The decision took relatives of its 17 residents by surprise.

Stewart Memorial House provides nursing and residential care for people with profound physical and learning disabilities.

They were told the move had to be made as it is not financially viable.

A campaign involving carers, relatives and local politicians was launched to keep the facility open.

In December the Northern Ireland Institute for the Disabled, which owns and runs the home, said a decision would be postponed until further consultations were carried out. Last night the Northern Ireland Institute for the Disabled said in a statement it was "acutely aware this is highly emotive and sensitive issue for all concerned" and a final decision on the home had still not been made.

"The fact is that in each of the last 10 years, Stewart Memorial House has incurred annual deficits and the accumulative total of this debt is around £1.9m. Our absolute focus is on exploring ways in which the grave financial situation can be addressed.

"We would stress and confirm that a final decision has not been made by the trustees."

A spokeswoman for the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, which funds the places for 14 out of the 17 residents, confirmed that a meeting with the residents' support group is due to take place.

Belfast Telegraph

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