Family of man with severe brain injury fight to save Cumbrian care home

  • Video report by Fiona Marley Patterson

More than 4,500 people have signed a petition calling on the owners of Holehird care home in Windermere not to close it in September.

They include the family of a man from Carlisle with a severe brain injury who say the nearest home that could cater for his complex needs would be in Leeds - so they'd struggle to visit him often.

Nathan has a brain injury after an attack three years ago. His Dad Kevin struggled to find somewhere that could care for his complex needs.

He told ITV Border: "To come out here into Holehird he can use an electric wheelchair and whizz about on the grounds of the place these kind of things he couldn't do in Carlisle in a home in the middle of the city.

"It can be quite upsetting to see your family in care. This is a lovely place not only for the residents but also for their family members to be able to come outside, sit on the grass, have a look out in Windermere across the fells.

"The fear factor when anybody new comes into the room is bad enough with Nathan but when you see the staff come in that he knows his response his reactions you know what I mean? His facial expressions you know, you know that he's cared for here."

The organisation that runs the home Leonard Cheshire, announced plans to shut it down at the start of April, with the loss of around 60 jobs and 24 residents set to lose their home.

Nathan's family can see him regularly while he lives in Holehird Kevin worries a seven hour round trip to the nearest suitable home in Leeds would mean Nathan would lose something precious: time with his family.

He said: "He lights up as soon as he sees the family and that's all he really has. He can't communicate with us. I have a sister with a phobia that can't even drive so at least, from this home, I've been able to put Nathan in a disability vehicle and take him to see her.

"That wouldn't be possible if he were in Leeds because I'm only allowed him out the home for two to three hours."

He continued: "He won't get that kind of treatment anywhere else, it's not there."

Holehird Care Home. Credit: ITV News

The campaign to save the 60-year old care home has over 4,500 supporters. They're calling for the closure to be halted so a new provider can be found.

A spokesman for Leonard Cheshire said: “The level of short and long-term investment needed at Holehird for it to have a sustainable future is prohibitive.

“Having looked at all the options in detail, it is with great regret that we have therefore made the difficult decision not to renew our lease at the service.

“We know there is considerable local affection for Holehird, and we are speaking to local stakeholders as well as residents, their families and staff individually. Together with local authorities, we will support people to choose new homes that are right for them."