Terrington St John care home saved from closure in dementia plan
A West Norfolk village care home has been saved from closure after its operator announced plans to turn it into a specialist dementia facility.
The proposal to shut Burman House in Terrington St John sparked widespread anger when it was first revealed in September, with MPs, councillors and union officials uniting in opposition.
But now the home’s operator, NorseCare, says it wants to turn the site into a dedicated home, offering 30 beds for people living with dementia.
Although the company, which is owned by Norfolk County Council, says the current residential care service at the home will end as part of the scheme, residents will be able to stay there if they choose to do so.
A transition period is expected to start soon, though no firm date for it has been revealed.
Managing director Karen Knight said: “There is a clear need for more dementia provision in the west of the county and I see a repurposed Burman House being an important part of meeting that need.”
The change of plan comes after more than 800 people signed a petition launched by the trade union Unison against the closure proposal.
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss also raised concerns about the proposal, while local councillors criticised a consultation on its future, which they claimed was premature and lacking detail about alternative provision.
Jonathan Dunning, secretary of Unison’s Norfolk county branch, said: “The fact hundreds of people backed our campaign to keep Burman House open shows just how loved the home is and how much the local community values it.
“We were overwhelmed by the strength of feeling from workers past and present as well as relatives of those who receive fantastic care at Burman House.
“That strength of feeling – backed by the local Parish Council – forced Norfolk County Council and Norse Care to find a way to keep the home open.”
The announcement also comes after Norse Care was revealed to be the only large care provider in England and Wales whose homes are all rated as either good or outstanding by inspectors.
Mr Dunning said: “These brilliant levels of care made it even harder for the Council to make budget cuts forcing Norse Care to chase quick savings by closing Burman at the expense of staff, residents and their families.”