Plans not wholly supported

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The Abbeyfield project in north Northumberland would come at the expense of redundancies, elderly people having to move out and the demolition of an historic building, according to one concerned member of staff.

The employee, who works at Ravenslaw and does not wish to be named, told the Gazette that staff were called into a meeting recently to be told the home was not viable.

“We are going to lose our jobs, but we have age on our side,” he said. “Most of the staff are just staying there for the sake of the residents. They are friends at the end of the day.”

Amanda Gilboy, Abbeyfield’s director of the north, said: “While the proposal is in its infancy, plans for the relocation of residents and possible changes to the organisation are still being explored.

“Abbeyfield will be involving staff, residents and their families closely in the decision-making and planning process and consulting with them as the project develops.

“Abbeyfield will be seeking redeployment opportunities for staff in order to retain as many of our employees as is possible within the Abbeyfield family.”

She added: “There are currently architectural limitations within the existing Ravenslaw building which will reduce our ability to safely house residents who are becoming frail and who experience mobility problems.”