Hope rising for future of troubled care home in Langholm

A LANGHOLM councillor is hopeful the town’s only care home will remain open as talks continue to save the troubled facility.

Dalarran Nursing Home, run by Welcare Homes, has suffered financial problems, causing serious concerns among relatives of its 12 residents that the centre, which employs around 25 part and full-time staff, would close.

However, owner Willie Welsh, Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Care, which represents private care providers, are now in discussions.

And Langholm councillor Denis Male believes it is vital the house stays open while the Muckle Toon waits on a much-delayed new care home, which Welcare had planned to deliver at Townfoot.

He told TheSouthern: “Mediation is taking place and that will take place over a number of weeks, but the early signs are positive. Both Dumfries and Galloway’s council and health board acknowledge the need for a new care home in Langholm, with land owned by Mr Welsh a possible site.

“There were issues that looked like it was headed that way (closure), but I am hopeful that has now been averted.”

A Dumfries and Galloway Council spokeswoman said: “The director of social work is meeting with the owner of Dalarran, mediated by Scottish Care.

“The mediation will focus on finding a resolution which maintains current provision at Dalarran, subject to quality considerations being appropriately addressed.

“The process of mediation is under way, but has not been concluded and further information will be provided when the process has been completed.”

A campaign has been launched to save the house, with the town’s community council writing a letter in support of the residents’ relatives to Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Community council chairperson Margaret Sanderson told us: “The effect (of closure) on the residents would not be good as there is no other care home within around 25 miles of Langholm. Unfortunately, it would mean quite a convoluted journey for someone without a car as we do not have good transport links to places like Annan.

“There has been tremendous support for Dalarran with posters in shop and house windows, and petitions in the town.

“But the problem is, unlike our efforts to save the Thomas Hope Hospital which is run by a public body, Dalarran is a private business.”

Dalarran House was converted into a care home in 2007 by Welcare, but has suffered a series of poor inspection reports in the past four years.

However, its latest report in October 2011 showed improvement, with the quality of care and support rated good, with only quality of environment described as weak.

And Mrs Sanderson says Langholm is fully behind the facility.

She added: “There has been nothing but praise for the quality of care at Dalarran from local people. A community councillor, whose mother was a resident at Dalarran but recently died, said the care was absolutely excellent, including the cleanliness and the food.”

Describing the consequences of the house’s potential closure, Mrs Sanderson added: “Langholm has suffered hugely from unemployment recently. We only really have one mill left in Reid and Taylor, and that has downsized considerably in the past few years.”