Jobs saved as Leading Lives takes over care support service from Crossroads Care East Anglia

The new board members at employee-owned social enterprise Leadiing Lives who were elected at its AGM

The new board members at employee-owned social enterprise Leadiing Lives who were elected at its AGM. - Credit: Archant

More than 50 jobs have been saved in Suffolk and north-west Essex following the closure of care support charity Crossroads Care East Anglia.

Ipswich-based social enterprise Leading Lives has acquired the support packages previously operated by the charity in Suffolk and the Uttlesford distrct of Essex, with 52 staff transferring to the organisation.

Leading Lives said that, where possible, the 162 customers affected would be allocated the same support workers as before.

The former Crossroads staff will now have the opportunity to become members of Leading Lives, which is an employee-owned business spun-out from Suffolk County Council in 2012 to take over a range of social care and support services previously delivered by the authority.

Tony Carr, managing director of Leading Lives, said: “This is a key stage in our development as an independent, social business and regional social care provider.

“Our immediate priority has been to take stock and ensure the transition for customers has been as smooth as possible.

“Going forward, this will offer new opportunities for customers and staff and for us to achieve sustainable growth in line with our core business and values.”

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Leading Lives, which employs a total of more than 550 people, has also just reported a third consecutive annual trading surplus, with the sum to be invested back into the business or used to support community projects through the Leading Lives Community Benefit Fund.

The organisation’s AGM heard that turnover had topped £11million, new business gained during the past year having included additional supported living contracts and growth in a new domiciliary service, Independence Plus.

The meeting also saw the election of a new board of employee directors who will serve for a 12-month term.

Besides the carers’ services which have transferred from Crossroads Car East Anglia to Leading Lives, the charity also operated an Admission Prevention Service in west Suffolk, which will revert to being run in-house at West Suffolk Hospital, and the Uttlesford Young Adult Carers service, which transfers to Action for Family Carers as part of the Supporting Carers in Essex partnership.

Other local Crossroads groups operating in Essex, including Crossroads Care Tendring & Colchester and Crossroads Care Braintree District & Chelmsford, are unaffected by the closure of Crossroads Care East Anglia.

In Norfolk, most services provided by Crossroads Care East Anglia have transferred to Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, including family carer support, the Norfolk Young Carers Forum and the Young Adult Carers support services

Leadership of the Carers Agency Partnership, including the Norfolk Carers Helpline, has passed to Norfolk Carers Support.

Brenda Bond, chief executive of Crossroads Care East Anglia, said: “We are delighted to say that nearly all our staff are transferring their employment at the same time, ensuring continuity and quality of service for as many clients as possible.”

Crossroads Care East Anglia has blamed its decision to close from the end of September on changes in funding arrangements and local government cuts.