Closure of Northampton care home will break up ‘close families’

Scope holding a fund-raising Mad Hatters tea party at Hampton House, Tonmead Road, Lumbertubs, Northampton. ENGNNL00120130718163348
Scope holding a fund-raising Mad Hatters tea party at Hampton House, Tonmead Road, Lumbertubs, Northampton. ENGNNL00120130718163348

A total of 20 people, some of whom have been friends for more than almost four decades will be forced to leave a Northampton care home in October.

Hampton House, a care home in Lumbertubs run by Scope, was branded “old-fashioned” by charity bosses in 2013.

Despite objections from disabled residents and their relatives, it has been announced that, along with some other Scope homes, it will close. It means the 20 current residents will have to find new accommodation, whether that be by themselves and financed by a personal budget or living as a group while supported by Scope.

Richard Hawkes chief executive of Scope, said it had had consulted with residents, families and staff, but the home would close on October 7.

He said: “We’ve closely considered the feedback we’ve received.

“But we want to raise expectations when it comes to disability and we want our work on the ground to reflect that. We’re really ambitious for all disabled people.

“We don’t think a care home like Hampton House, which was set up in the 1970s, does that.”

Scope said Hampton House residents live as a group and follow a similar routine, making it hard for them to make individual choices about their day-to-day lives.

Limitations imposed by the layout include the fact there are only four bathrooms for the 20 people who live there. Residents are also unable to use parts of the building and, for example, cannot use the kitchen to prepare their own meals.

But family members said they would have preferred for the facilities to be upgraded if it meant residents could be kept together.

Beverley Angell, whose 54-year-old sister, Nicky Thompson, lives at the home and has cerebral palsy said Hampton House was irreplaceable in residents’ lives.

She said: “I’m not exaggerating when I say the residents there are like a close family.

“Nicky and two or three others have been there 38 years together; most people have been there 20 years or more.

“The charity talk about bathrooms as if that’s important to us.

“Bathrooms are nice but staying together is all Nicky and her friends care about.”

Mrs Angell said Nicky now faces the additional problem that because her local authority, Barnet, has paid the cheap fees at Hampton House for almost 40 years, the same money will not now cover good modern accommodation.

Mrs Angell said: “I’ve just finished one battle and I’m now facing a fight to get more money from the local authority. If not, I’ve no idea how we meet the shortfall.”

Northamptonshire County Council said it will not directly intervene to find homes for the displaced residents.

However, it will offer advice to them, family members or advocates to help them choose accommodation paid for by their council personal budget payments.

Mr Hawkes said: “We know that change can be unsettling and although many of the residents are looking forward to the opportunities this decision could bring, the next few months may be an anxious time for everyone involved.

We want to reassure everyone that we have a tried and tested plan to help individuals find the best possible new home with their council.”