Relatives Angry Over Closure Of Care Home

News of the looming closure of a respite home has been greeted with despair by worried relatives. The Tamarine respite care unit in Denmead, near Waterlooville, has been earmarked for closure in the summer, sparking fears over the effect on the vulnerable people who use it.

The unit gives parents, most of whom are elderly, a much-needed break from being full-time carers to their adult children who suffer from learning disabilities such as autism.

The Tamarine, Southwick Road, provides care for people from across the region. Most stay a couple of days every few months to allow their carers vital rest. But it will close in June.

Health chiefs insist the move will not save cash, but will help improve services.

Keith Goffe, a 75-year-old widower of Love Lane, Petersfield, is the full-time carer for his son, Malcolm, 37. He is leading the campaign to save Tamarine on behalf of parents.

Mr Goffe, also the vice-president of Petersfield Society for Special Needs, said: ‘All the parents are completely devastated. It is a huge blow for us, I just don’t know what we are going to do.

‘My son has Down’s syndrome and autism. He must have routine, and although as a parent you never want to send your child away, I was happy for him to go to the Tamarine, it is such a nice place.’

In a statement, the two NHS primary care trusts funding healthcare in Hampshire and Portsmouth said it cost £250,000 a year to run the Tamarine but that numbers using it had fallen by 75 per cent in a decade.

The money saved will fund respite nearer to people’s homes, they said.

Olive Maguire, 65, of Warren Avenue, Southsea, a full-time carer for her son Campbell, 47, said: ‘Social services has said it will try to find a respite foster family, but that is not good enough. They are desperate for foster families for children without disabilities. I don’t believe they will find one to take him.’