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Unions rally support for Nightingale Lodge
9:24am Friday 6th September 2013 in News
A CAMPAIGN to save Romsey’s Nightingale Lodge Care Home from closure is gathering pace.
Protesters have organised a ‘grand petition signing’ in the Market Place on September 28 between 10am and 4pm in a bid to persuade Hampshire’s social services chiefs not to bulldoze the 39-bed care home and replace it with privately operated sheltered accommodation .
Consultations on the closure of Nightingale Lodge and three other county council care homes are currently being carried out and Hampshire’s cabinet member for adult social services Anna McNair Scott will decide on their future in November.
Officials from the Hampshire branches of the unions Unison and Unite are involved in the battle to save all four homes.
Jan Matthews deputy Hampshire branch secretary with Unison said: “We need as much support as possible and hope the public and relatives of people in care homes will come along too. We hope the public will sign the petition to save all four homes and staff jobs. Hampshire County Council has already said there will be redundancies. Hampshire is just privatising the service they provide. After these four residential care homes close there will only be five county council run homes left in Hampshire.”
Ms Matthews hopes the weight of public opinion could force the county council to hold a debate on the closures.
The Save Nightingale Lodge campaign is also running on Facebook and it has over 230 followers in six countries and been viewed by more than five thousand people. Unison and Unite has also set up petitions at Paperchain and Latimer News in Romsey.
Pat Kelly of Romsey who is putting her weight behind the campaign, said: “People signing the petition should also email or write to Anna McNair Scott, as I am not sure how much notice HCC will take of petitions. I hope the people of Romsey will rally around Nightingale Lodge in their many hundreds. That ought to make dissent difficult to ignore.”
She added that HCC should hold a public meeting in the town on the planned closure with the decision-makers present to answer any questions people have about the radical shake-up of care homes.
“The whole process really is a sham as they have made their minds up already, there are no plans,drawings or reports on the question of modernising Nightingale Lodge and building a new wing. All that is being looked at is planning for extra care living, so they are not even making a pretence at carrying out a balancing exercise,” added Pat.
A number of signed petition sheets have gone missing from a counter at Latimer News. Jill Baker from the campaign group is appealing for anyone who picked them up to return them to the shop.
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