‘Population is ageing, but has nowhere to go’

The demolition of Horsdonside in November last year.
The demolition of Horsdonside in November last year.

A Wooler resident has issued an impassioned plea for the powers-that-be to look at the lack of provision for the infirm and elderly in the village.

Kevan Currie has written to Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing chief and Berwick’s MP on the issue of nursing care, sparked by a personal tragedy.

In the letter, addressed to Daljit Lally at the county council, and copied to Anne-Marie Treveylan, he explained that he recently had to admit his elderly father, who has motor neurone disease, to hospital after his condition deteriorated.

‘I am afraid this will inevitably lead to him having to go into nursing care for the rest of his life,’ he continued.

‘This has become a headache for me and my family as living in Wooler, we have virtually no care facilities in the town apart from one small, private care home, which offers very little in the way of nursing care.

‘My concerns have grown significantly about care for the elderly in Wooler as we have an ageing population with absolutely nowhere for these people to go as and when they need caring for in their twilight years.

‘I strongly feel that this situation needs addressing sooner rather than later as the elderly population grows and we will have the next generation struggling with the same situation that I and other Wooler residents are facing.

‘I have spoken to many residents about this problem and the mutual feeling is the same, we need something here!

‘Can you imagine the soul-destroying feeling for people when they have not only to leave their home, but also their neighbourhood, leaving family and friends behind?

‘It is grossly unfair on people who have lived here for most or all of their lives and contributed to the community all that time and then be told at the end of their days, ‘sorry, tough, but you have to go, there’s nothing we can do about it’.

He concluded his letter, which was read out at Monday’s meeting of Wooler Parish Council, by saying: ‘The people of Wooler deserve better’.

Coun Alfreda Hindmarsh said: “I totally agree. This is what we said when they closed Horsdonside.”

The sheltered-housing complex was closed in 2012 as the site did not meet the Government’s standards and it would be too expensive to put right.

But the parish council has always said that the elderly community that lost the facility should be provided for.

Work has recently started on the site, but while the new scheme provides housing for the over 55s, there are no sheltered or care elements.

What are the other options?

Horsdonside: Eight two-bedroom houses and six two-bedroom bungalows are being built. The bungalows will include dementia-friendly design features to support those suffering from dementia and help them to continue living independently in their own homes.

The Old Vicarage: This residential home, on Cottage Road, provides care for up to 18 adults over the age of 65, but nursing care is not provided.

Wooler First School site: This site is now vacant following the school’s move to the Brewery Road site. Glendale Gateway Trust’s housing group suggested this is used for a care home.