Closure of Lakenheath Village Home was the ‘only option available’

Lakenheath Village Home
Lakenheath Village Home

The financial burden of upgrading facilities to expected standards was one of the reasons for the closure of Lakenheath Village Home.

Trustees Richard Radcliffe and Ernie Neal addressed village residents at a heated meeting to discuss its closure in December last year.

Mr Radcliffe, told a packed hall that ‘closure was the only option available’ to the Christian Enterprise Foundation, which owns the home.

He said trustees had realised ‘some years ago’ that at some point the charity would run out of money.

Those attending the meeting heard that achieving modern care standards at the home was not financially viable.

Mr Radcliffe also said trustees were unhappy with the level of personal liability they were required to undertake.

He said that efforts had been made to relocate the home with the help of a partner, but these had failed.

A member of the public asked why a meeting was not called when it was realised the home would face financial difficulties.

Mr Radcliffe said: “With hindsight that might have been a good thing.”

The daughter of one resident told the meeting her mother’s last days in the village were ‘miserable’.

She said: “Taken away from these elderly people were the familiar faces that looked after them because they were sent home.

“Her last days in this village were miserable and for me and her family that was unforgiveable.”

Mr Radcliffe said he was saddened to hear such stories and thanked staff, residents and families for their support in the home’s final days.

The trustees of the Christian Enterprise Foundation plan to sell the home, in Back Street, at auction, in July.

Several attendees questioned if this was the most profitable means of sale.

Mr Radcliffe said the trustees had taken advice and been given a guide price in excess of £300,000.

The Christian Enterprise Foundation plans to become a grant giving body.

It will support projects in the village that meet its aims of advancing the Christian faith, providing leisure facilities and supporting those aged 65 and over.

Concerns were raised about the lack of provision of care for the elderly in the village.

Cllr Colin Noble said a 60 bed care home would open in Mildenhall this summer, but further provision was required.

In the 27 years it was open, Lakenheath Village Home cared for more than 200 people, as the meeting ended the trustees were thanked for the care it had provided.