Battle lines have been drawn after a campaign was launched to save a much-loved Angus care home from closure.
The fight is under way after relatives, carers and members of the public reacted with fury at a leaked report on the future of Seaton Grove in Arbroath.
Friends of Seaton Grove has now been set up to campaign for the retention of the facility and warned “anything that threatens the future of the home could have dire consequences for the frail, elderly residents.”
A Facebook page for the campaign quickly attracted more than 700 followers and a petition against the closure has also been launched, which is being circulated around shops and bars in the town.
Residents, families and supporters will also gather at the unit for a coffee afternoon on Sunday to rally support against the proposed changes.
A leaked report seen by The Courier argues that the Angus Health and Social Care Partnership, which includes Angus Council and NHS Tayside, faces a double whammy of financial constraint and steadily increasing demand, and estimates that the unit now requires around £1m investment to bring it up to standard.
The report outlined future options which included closure and privatisation of the AHSCP-run unit.
A spokesperson for the newly-formed Friends of Seaton Grove group said: “The campaign has one clear aim and that is to demonstrate the huge support throughout Angus for this highly regarded and much needed service, and to persuade the Angus Health and Social Care Partnership that the benefits of retaining Seaton Grove far outweigh any potential cost savings.
“We would encourage people to sign the petition and show their support for Seaton Grove.”
The friends group has praised the staff at the home for “continuing to provide a great service” while facing an uncertain future, and argues that moving the residents, some of whom have been there for many years, would be an extremely stressful and worrying experience.
Two Arbroath councillors have already thrown their weight behind the campaign.
Arbroath East and Lunan Conservative councillor Derek Wann, a member of the council’s ruling administration, said: “I am acutely aware about of the excellent work that goes on at Seaton Grove, and I am absolutely against any possible decision to close the home.
“Ultimately, the decision will not come before councillors to vote on, but I firmly believe that the option of closing the unit should be taken off the table, and every effort made to find the money to bring it up to scratch.
“I will be attending the coffee afternoon on Sunday to speak with residents and their families to discuss how best to take the campaign forward.”
SNP Councillor Brenda Durno said: “I want to see Seaton Grove retained.
“We are investing a lot of money in schools, and I think we should find the cash to bring the home up to standard.”
A spokesman for Angus Health and Social Care Partnership stated that it is currently conducting a review of residential care provision for older people in Angus.
“The review is evaluating the quality of care provided and the suitability of our premises, as well as the effectiveness of our service delivery models and financial efficiency.
“As a part of this, the future of Seaton Grove is being considered, although it is important to state that no conclusions have been reached or decisions taken.
“Staff have been, and will continue to be, informed and updated in relation to this review process. AHSCP is also engaging with service users, their families, Trade Unions, elected members and other key stakeholders.
“Any final decision taken in relation to Seaton Grove and its service provision will be made by the Angus Integration Joint Board.”