Campaigners stage demonstration to keep Marrow House dementia home in Meir Hay open
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a specialist dementia home from closure as part of council cutbacks staged a demonstration
Relatives of residents at Marrow House in Meir Hay joined members of the North Staffordshire Pensioners' Convention as a 20ft banner was unfurled outside the Civic Centre declaring: "Hands off Marrow House – people before profit."
Current residents at the home, which is a designated centre of excellence, have been assured they will not be forced to move.
But campaigners are fighting to save the home for future users amid concerns the alternatives in the private sector are inadequate.
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Peter Morris, of Newcastle, whose 90-year-old mother-in-law is cared for at Marrow House, fears the council will renege on its pledge to leave current residents in the home as numbers begin to dwindle.
The 58-year-old said: "We fear the council will not want to run the home as the number of residents starts to fall.
"Already we have lost five residents since we started these protests and that means there are now five empty rooms that loved ones of dementia sufferers need and want to access. Instead they remain empty while the councilwaits for the other residents to die."
The Forrister Street complex stopped accepting new residents in February.
Councillors initially intended to shut the home, forcing residents to move into privately-run centres from April, but backed down after a public outcry.
The home is still set for closure in the long term as residents die or move into nursing care.
Pat Autenriet's 90-year-old mother received respite care at Marrow House before moving to Christian care home Claybourne in Packmoor. She said: "The care at Claybourne is excellent, but it's not run for profit. That isn't the case for most of the alternatives."
Campaigner Doreen Norton, of Dresden, whose 86-year-old mother is cared for at Marrow House, said: "We are reminding the council that they have a duty of care to the most frail members of the community.
"Older people who have worked hard all their lives deserve the best when they need looking after."
John Davis, aged 77, of Bentilee, chairman of North Staffordshire Pensioners' Convention, was among the protesters. He said: "They are farming out care to the private sector purely to save money.
"If people just sit back and accept cuts and deterioration in care they will be steamrollered and the cuts will just go further."
A spokesman for the city council said no current residents will be forced to move out of Marrow House.