18 October 2002
The Multiple Sclerosis Society confirmed today that its holiday homes in Exmouth and Worthing will close on 30 November 2002.
The board of trustees recommended the closures in May after a review of the Society's respite care and holiday homes had shown continuing under-occupancy.
A period of staff consultation followed and other care providers were invited to submit tenders for buying the homes.
Mike O'Donovan, chief executive of the Society, said: "More than 40 organisations were asked to tender and we held discussions with several others to see if an alternative to closure could be found.
"This has not proved possible. Both homes are now generally seen to be too small and out-dated to be viable as care homes or hotels. Upgrading them would require heavy capital investment and a substantial ongoing subsidy, without necessarily delivering the best, up-to-date accommodation for people with MS."
"There is, however, much good news," said Mr O'Donovan. "We are now discussing partnerships with other organisations to ensure there is a choice of respite resources accessible to people affected by MS across the country.
"Money saved from Exmouth and Worthing will go to help fund this as well as to improve our three purpose-built respite care centres, develop home respite care and extend other specialist services."
The trustees expressed their thanks to volunteers who were instrumental in establishing the homes more than 20 years ago. They hoped the volunteers would understand that the board's decision had to be taken in the light of present day circumstances.
The Society is writing to all guests who have stayed at the two homes in recent years, explaining the reasons for its decision.
It has launched a voucher scheme for people wishing to try alternative destinations and a directory detailing more than 300 of them.
Telephone advice and assistance is also available on 020 8438 0925.