Meeting scheduled to discuss ‘care hub’ plans for Lehmann House in Wickham Market

Lehmann House care home in Wickham Market

Lehmann House care home in Wickham Market - Credit: Archant

Some of the services provided by a care home that is due to close in east Suffolk later this year could be retained under a community-run scheme.

Care workers and community leaders in Wickham Market are developing plans to create a “care hub” at Lehmann House in the village after its closure, which is expected to happen in September.

Bryan Hall, who has been working on the scheme as a district councillor and member of the Wickham Market Partnership, said plans had been in discussion for some time, but had remained confidential while negotiation over the closure continued with Care UK and Suffolk County Council.

While he said the initial hopes to run a fully-fledged care home on the site, which is owned by the county council, were unlikely to proceed, he added that a smaller-scale “care hub” model was felt to be still possible.

Speaking at the latest Wickham Market Parish Council meeting, Mr Hall said that a meeting had been arranged with Anna McCreadie, SCC’s corporate director of adult and community services, “sometime at the end of April”.

“Most of what we will discuss, although it hinges very much on the quality of care that we can offer, will also depend on how long we will be able to function in that premises,” he added.

Michael Bond Wickham Market’s county councillor, also spoke at the meeting about Lehmann House.

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“There’s a group of citizens here who feel that though it may not be possible to retain Lehmann House, the idea was to offer perhaps an independent sort of care home,” he said.

“Latterly, the situation seems to have shifted to provide care services on a slightly lower scale.

“I’ve been trying to get information that would be useful to this group.”

Mr Bond said that while health consideration would be an important factor in any decision about the future of Lehmann House, financial matters and the possibility of creating housing on the site, would also affect the outcome.

Care UK, which manages Lehmann House, said its closure is part of “five year, £60 million investment in modern care homes, which will better meet the needs of older people, particularly those with dementia.

It said the current site was no longer economically viable.

Residents will be offered places at several brand new care homes, the nearest being Mills Meadow in Framlingham, which is nearing completion.

“At all 10 of the new homes being built as part of this investment, there’ll also be a brand new bespoke day club providing social activities, companionship and respite care for people – including those with dementia,” a spokesman added.