23 May 2002
A WORTHING holiday home for multiple sclerosis sufferers could close by the end of the year.
Trustees of the MS Society have recommended Kenninghall MS Care Hotel in Shakespeare Road, Worthing, shuts because it is losing money.
The hotel's 23 staff, 10 of whom are full-time, would all lose their jobs.
The society's chief executive, Mike O'Donovan, said the hotel was operating well below capacity and the society wanted to develop home respite care for sufferers.
He said the impact of the government's new national standards for care homes meant the society would have to spend £560,000 next year upgrading facilities across its holiday homes, forcing it to cut the number of beds by half.
"That would mean the subsidy we provide for guests would treble, to an average figure approaching £1,000 per bed per week," said Mr O'Donovan. "We realise it could be upsetting for guests, especially those who have used the homes for a number of years," he said.
"However, if the recommendation is confirmed, we shall do everything we can to help people find acceptable alternatives. We shall set up an enquiry line and introduce a directory of respite care centres and holiday homes."
Karl Wallace, fund-raising and marketing manager for the Sussex MS Treatment Centre, based in Southwick, said the closure would be a real blow.
"Lots of our people use the hotel and it provides a vital chance to
people who suffer from MS to have a holiday.
It also gives their carers and family the opportunity to get some space to themselves.
"It will be a great loss to the community if it were to close."
A final decision will be made in July after a period of staff consultation.