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Disabled charity Leonard Cheshire defends sale of 17 care homes

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A charity has defended its decision to sell 17 disabled care homes after claims that vulnerable residents were not properly consulted.

Leonard Cheshire Disability has faced criticism over the move, which affects homes in Leeds, Sheffield, Calderdale and York.

The charity, set up by a former RAF pilot after the Second World War, said it was seeking new providers to keep the homes open.

They include Champion House, which provides residential and respite care for up to 27 people in Calverley, Leeds.

Calverley and Farsley councillor Andrew Carter said: “I’m concerned, I have to say, that there appears to have been a lack of proper consultation. An explanation is required.

“We are talking about very vulnerable people here. Consultation and listening to people’s points of view is paramount.”

Also up for sale is White Windows, a 25-bed home in Sowerby Bridge.

Pat Horrocks-Taylor, a long-standing volunteer at the home, said: “We’re absolutely shocked. It’s like selling off the family silver.

“There are so many great volunteers and kind staff. People are very well cared for here.”

Alne Hall, near York, Beechwood, in Huddersfield, Kenmore, in Cleckheaton and Mickley Hall, in Sheffield, are also up for sale.

Kevin Hollinrake, the Thirsk and Malton MP, said Alne Hall had been open since the 1950s.

He said: “It is sad news, although it is good at least that it will be sold on as a going concern.
“Hopefully staff and residents will continue to live and work at the home and the service will continue in the same fashion as it is at present. It is a concern for the people that live there, their families and the staff, who do a brilliant job.”

Leonard Cheshire said it told staff and residents at the earliest opportunity. A spokesman said: “We are acutely aware that this is a stressful and worrying time for residents, staff and their families and the decision hasn’t been taken lightly.

“Senior management have visited staff and residents at all services currently affected and an open dialogue between them and decision makers at Leonard Cheshire will continue.”