Over 100 protest to save Risca care home

MORE than 100 angry protestors gathered at Caerphilly council headquarters last night, demonstrating against the possible closure of a Risca care home.

Family, along with Risca residents and councillors, descended on Ty Penallta in Ystrad Mynach to make their feelings clear about the axe which looms over Ty Darran.

The protest was timed to take place just before a full council meeting and cries of ‘save our home’ and ‘residents have rights’ greeted councillors as they headed inside.

A coach was laid on to take people up from Risca, complete with banners and placards.

Irene Gough celebrates her 100th birthday tomorrow and is one of 14 people facing possible eviction.

Her daughter Connie Watkins, who was at last night’s protest, said: “Have the council really considered the feelings of the residents and the trauma they will have to go through if they are moved – we just want them to listen to us.”

Ty Darran, which also employs 28 people, entered a three-month consultation period in January about its future before a decision is made by the cabinet next month.

Chris Baker’s mother, Barbara Smith, 92, has been at the home for seven years.

Mrs Baker said: “If she’s moved, my disabled father would be unable to visit his wife of 63 years, they will be lost without each other.

“If she’s moved, it’s going to kill her and it will have a domino effect on my father and our family. There is no if, it must not close.”

The council said there was a shortage of residential and nursing care for people in 2005, so plans were made for an independent company to run its nursing homes with the council block-buying beds.

Now, the council says there is an excess of beds and in August, there were 85 empty beds meant for the elderly in the borough and 263 spare across Gwent.

The nearest council-run care home is Newbridge’s Ty Iscoed and the only other one in the old Islwyn area is Beatrice Webb in Blackwood.

The council said parts of the 36-bed home are not fit for purpose and redevelopment would cost £500,000, with annual running costs of £444,000.