Little Sisters of the Poor care home on Gilmore Place to shut

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A CARE home run by nuns for 155 years has been unable to secure a deal with a new provider and will close in September, leaving the existing 26 residents in the lurch.

The Evening News told last year how the Little Sisters of the Poor planned to withdraw from St Joseph’s House in Gilmore Place due to a shortage of nuns.

The Little Sisters of the Poor are quitting the Gilmore Place care home in Edinburgh

The Little Sisters of the Poor are quitting the Gilmore Place care home in Edinburgh

The religious order, which runs homes in Glasgow and Greenock, rejected two proposals from alternative care providers to take on the premises as a going concern. This has led to speculation the facility will be sold to property developers, with the remaining sisters due to leave at the end of October, bringing to an end a 155-year association with the Capital.

A meeting was held last Friday in which the total closure plans were announced.

A concerned relative of a resident, who wished to remain anonymous, accused the care home of showing a lack of transparency over their intentions.

They said: “Not every resident was represented at the meeting, possibly because we were originally told an announcement would be at the end of May, so there was no real reason as to why it was brought forward.

“The Reverend Mother from Ireland went over what they had been doing since September and advised that despite two potential care providers being considered, they decided it would not be in the interest of the residents if they chose either.

“They were asked why the two providers were rejected.

“The initial response was that they were not at liberty to answer the question why, but said it was in the interests of the current residents”.

The relative added: “There’s about ten nuns in the place and I’d say that greater than 50 per cent are incapable of providing any care service to the residents.

“We feel very angry that the home will be closing.

“It was part of the community, now it will be sold if not already and the proceeds will be pocketed by the charity. I did suggest that they were about to become the Little Sisters of the Rich, a nickname already used in Dublin for the order.”

It is understood the care home is partly subsidised by the council and that some of the residents who do not have families can be relocated at other homes outside of Edinburgh, with an agreement in place that everyone is given not less than 13 weeks’ notice.

The Little Sisters was founded in 1839 by Saint Jeanne Jugan, a Breton woman who established the order to care for the elderly. She said she felt the need to look after impoverished older people who lined the streets of French towns and cities.

Sister Marie Claire Brennan, Mother Superior at St Joseph’s, said: “The Little Sisters of the Poor have brought the love of Christ to the elderly of Edinburgh over the past 155 years and we vow to continue that love and care for our remaining 26 residents in the coming months.”

Judith Proctor, chief officer of the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We will continue to work with the Little Sisters of the Poor through any transition period to minimise any impact on our affected service users.”