Protesters march to save closure-threatened residential home

MORE than 100 people marched through a South Wales village to save a closure-threatened residential home for people with dementia.

The march on Saturday came two weeks before the end of a three-month public consultation on the future of the Bryneithin home, in St Andrews Road, Dinas Powys.

Relatives of residents at the home were joined by villagers, politicians of all persuasions and supporters on their march through the village.

Marchers, who by this time numbered around 150, stopped in the centre of the old village to listen to the Dr Haydn Jones Ecumenical Seven Band play in support of Bryneithin, before they continued to the parish hall for tea and Welsh cakes.

Social services officers and political leaders of the Conservative-controlled council have emphasised that no decision on the future of Bryneithin has yet been taken and that all views put forward as part of the public consultation will be taken into account.

In submissions made as part of the consultation, doctors, relatives of residents, and councillors have suggested that Bryneithin should be refurbished and expanded to become a centre of excellence in dementia care, rather than closed.

As the march got under way, Irene Gannon, vice-chairwoman of the Vale Strategic Forum for Older People, said: “There will be many more older people in the Vale by 2020 and we believe that Bryneithin should remain open to cater for that.”

Andy Robertson, chairman of Dinas Powys branch of the Vale Conservative Association, said they were lobbying Conservative councillors on the Vale council to keep Bryneithin open.

He said any decision on Bryneithin should wait until the Welsh Assembly Government had announced its strategy on the care of people with dementia in Wales.

“We are determined that Bryneithin should not shut unless a facility as good, if not better, has been put in its place.

“It would be crazy to close it at a time when the need for it is increasing.”

“Dinas Powys is proud of Bryneithin. It has the support of the community.”

Dinas Powys resident Edward Jenkins, 66, said: “Closure of Bryneithin has been mooted without any potential alternative being put forward. That means we are looking into a black hole.

“The staff at Bryneithin are a dedicated team. We need this kind of special care and Bryneithin is deemed to be the place for it.”

Ian Farbrace, whose father-in-law is resident at Bryneithin said: “We are determined to keep it open. Politics should not come into this.”

Sylvia Bowen, whose father is a resident at Bryneithin said: “We say to the council that, with all the bad publicity up and down the country about social services, Bryneithin is a feather in the council’s cap and they should be proud that they manage this home to such a high standard at present.

“They should not only be looking to keep it open but also to improve it.”