Celebrations as Walker Grange care home saved from closure

Residents and staff at a Black Country care home are overjoyed after it was saved from closure.

Walker Grange residents celebrate its stay of execution
Walker Grange residents celebrate its stay of execution

Sandwell Council's cabinet reversed plans to close Walker Grange in Tipton after a spirited campaign by staff, residents and their families who were distraught the home would become history.

Instead of calling the bulldozers in the council will start work on Walker Grange to upgrade the building to ensure it is fit for purpose to provide Extra Care Housing, and to meet the changing needs older people, including those with dementia.

Interim leader of the council Councillor Maria Crompton said: "I want to thank the residents, their families, and the staff at Walker Grange for their commitment and engagement in working with council officers on the consultation about the future of the home, and for supporting plans for a major upgrade that will meet their needs.

"The consultation demonstrated how the home is appreciated by so many people in Sandwell, and that they want Walker Grange to continue to provide its valued services and for these to be developed further so residents continue to feel safe, protected, respected and cared for."

The decision came after an assessment of the condition and structure of the building, and an extensive consultation with the home’s stakeholders which ran from September 23 to November 8.

Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, cabinet member for adults, social care and health, added: "Walker Grange has strong links to the wider community, and this consultation with tenants, families, staff and the wider public made it clear that further investment and maintenance could potentially create a resource that provides additional support to vulnerable adults in Sandwell.

"It is vital that people with care and support needs are enabled – as this consultation has done – to inform choices about the life they live, giving our older and more vulnerable residents the opportunity to remain within a community setting in a 'Home for Life'."

More than 30 jobs were saved with the decision to keep Walker Grange open.

One worker said: "This has been an emotional journey for all the tenants and staff. This time the consultation has ended in favour of the people at Walker Grange and I’d like to thank everyone who helped us get this result."

Darren James, GMB Sandwell Branch Secretary, criticised the council for causing his members anxiety.

He said: "To save this care home is a victory for all who recognise the vital service offered by the staff here at Walker Grange. However, the stress and anxiety caused by this unnecessary consultation could have been avoided if the council would have recognised this beforehand and invested properly in services.

"Our members are hard-working, dedicated people and can now go back to doing what they do best, caring and providing dignity for Sandwell residents."

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