Heartbreak over Bystock decision

PUBLISHED: 16:25 04 August 2014 | UPDATED: 16:25 04 August 2014

Bystock Court resident James Knight with sister Emma Knight and mother Brenda Dalton at Westminster.

Bystock Court resident James Knight with sister Emma Knight and mother Brenda Dalton at Westminster.

Archant

Bystock Court, the residential care home for adults with learning difficulties, is to close.

Owners the Devon Sheltered Homes Trust and trustees Guinness Care and Support say a decline in ‘customers’ means the facility is no longer viable.

The closure follows a consultation with residents and families – the residents will now be re-housed in the local community.

Emma Knight, whose brother James has lived at Bystock for 28 years, said: “I’m heartbroken – I just feel numb.

“We proposed a business plan similar to a brilliant facility near Tavistock. They are sitting on 25 acres of land, and there are so many other services closing – day centres, youth services – so why not open it up to the rest of Exmouth? They wanted suggestions, but in the end they just didn’t want to know.”

Emma is meeting MP Hugo Swire next week and said: “I will continue to campaign for the rights of people with learning difficulties until I’m dead in the grave.

“I will fight for people who cannot speak up for themselves. This is wrong, and they know it.”

Deputy mayor Maddie Chapman said: “It’s outrageous. They are breaking up a family.”

A spokesman for Bystock Court’s owners said: “This decision has not been made lightly.

“By making this decision now, we will be able to continue to provide care, support and training for customers in smaller homes both now and in the future.

“We understand this may be a difficult time ... and we are committed to working with customers, their families and local authorities to help deliver the best outcome for each individual and to make the transition as smooth as possible.

“The closure of Bystock Court will not take place until everyone has been re-provided for.”

A spokesman for Devon County Council said specialists will help assess the residents’ care needs, adding: “Together we’ll explore all the options for where they might choose to live, whether that is in residential care, in supportive living, or at home with their family.

“Every effort will be made to try to keep friendship groups together as much as possible.”

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