Bid under way to save care home facing axe

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Residents and staff at the Millfield Gardens care home in Jedburgh have been given an early Christmas present after it emerged this week that another company is in talks with owner Bield to keep it open.

Bield announced in Octocer that it was to close all its care homes to concentrate on the more lucrative retirement home market, leading to uncertainty for those affected and their families.

However, the company now says discussions with Mansfield Care are “progressing positively”, and hopes are high that residents can remain at the Canongate care home and workers’ jobs will be safeguarded, although it is stressed that final contract and legal negotiations are unlikely to be resolved until next year.

Charlie Dickson, director of housing and care services at Bield, said if the transfers are completed successfully, it should be a great relief to all.

He said: “We are very aware of the serious impact of the closures of our care homes.

“That is why, when we had initial interest from potential buyers for a number of the homes, we have worked hard to reach an agreement that will allow them to remain open.

“We recognise that there is still a level of uncertainty, but we are progressing the conclusion of the transfers as quickly as possible.

“While we are relatively confident that we will reach a confirmed position, until these matters are concluded, which is likely to be in the new year, we cannot confirm the date of a potential transfer or give an absolute certainty that the service will be purchased and continue.”

It is expected that staff at each home will be transferred as part of the sale, so residents should experience limited changes and employees will have a continuation of service.

Mr Dickson added: “The wellbeing of our residents remains of paramount importance to us. Everything is being done to make sure the process is as smooth and unobtrusive as possible.”

Andrew Hume, chief executive officer of Edinburgh-based Mansfield Care, told the Southern: “I can advise that there are positive ongoing discussions to continue the Millfield Gardens residential home and two other homes in the Edinburgh area.

“I hope the residents, their families and staff will be reassured that Millfield Gardens will continue.”

Aspokesperson for Scottish Borders Council added: “We have been working with Bield since they announced their intention to withdraw from providing a service at Millfield and are pleased that they are making progress with the option of seeking to transfer the home to another provider.

“We appreciate that this is a difficult time for everyone involved, including residents, families and staff, but believe that Bield is keeping them updated and informed about progress on the potential service transfer .

“In the meantime, we continue to be available to support residents and their families with any concerns and questions that they may have.”