Hundreds of elderly people in the north-east of Scotland have lost access to vital care provision after the company they rely on for support announced it will close this summer due to funding concerns.
Care About Angus, which provides shopping, caring and companionship support to almost 250 people, said it was “deeply sorry” to have to shut down the business.
Some 27 staff, all of whom live and work in Angus, have been told they will lose their jobs as a result of the closure.
Susan Wilson, director of Care About Angus, said the business had received support in recent years to increase its income with grants from Angus Council – and latterly Angus Health and Social Care Partnership – but that funding was being withdrawn.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic, mandatory pay rises and increasing business costs have put pressure on the system, leading to the “sad and regrettable” decision to halt services.
“We are deeply sorry that we have had to take this action but a business that is person/people centred needs long term financial stability and support to allow growth, which unfortunately, especially in the current economic climate, is not possible,” said Ms Wilson.
“We will support staff and clients as much as possible through what will be a very difficult time for them.
“We are very grateful to all who have shown their dedicated support over the last eight years and staff, many of whom have been with Care About Angus since 2015, have been highly professional and valued as they carry out their jobs.
“We have received many letters from clients and their families expressing their sadness at the closure but appreciation for our staff and the service they have provided across the whole of Angus.”
Care About Angus is a community interest company established in 2015 following the transfer of home help and tenancy support services from Angus Council.
The company primarily provides services to elderly people across the council area, but also helps those with physical and learning difficulties, mental health and substance misuse issues.
All of the company’s staff and clients have been informed in writing about the closure, with a 30-day statutory consultation period now in process. It is anticipated that Care About Angus will close for business no later than August.
Angus Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) said Care About Angus would have already gone into voluntary liquidation without its support.
It said that work was under way to make sure service users had alternative care in place.
Gail Smith, CEO of AHSCP said: “Care About Angus first approached the AHSCP for financial assistance in 2018 and to date has received over £790,000 in either grant, Covid support or sustainability payments.
“This was on the condition that a recovery plan was put in place to improve its financial position. However, despite assistance, it has continued to operate at a loss and without additional financial aid from the AHSCP, would already have gone into voluntary liquidation.
“The AHSCP has always valued the services that Care About Angus provided and has committed to cover staff redundancy payments. We are also working hard to ensure that all service users will receive alternative support.”
Tess White, the Scottish Conservative MSP for the North East region and shadow public health minister, said the move to close Care About Angus would have been a difficult decision.
She said: “My thoughts are with the staff members who provide vital support at home for hundreds of people.
“It is imperative for those service users, and their worried families, that there is no break in continuity of care across Angus.
“The best-case scenario would be for another provider to step in, take on these great carers as a group, and ensure that some of our most vulnerable people keep seeing the familiar faces and personalities which help them feel secure at home.
“And if there is no other option, Angus Council should also consider retaining staff to protect the service, under the terms of self-directed support.”