Bield protestors urge ‘final push’ against closure

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Bonnybridge protesters against a plan to close a local care home are urging supporters to sign their petition ahead of a Holyrood demo.

Keep Bield Care Homes Open has already gained almost 7,500 signatures from people opposed to plans by Bield Housing to axe its home in Thornton Gardens, along with other homes in locations ranging from Linlithgow to Broxburn.

But at a recent meeting involving Bonnybridge families and local councillors - who wanted to stress solidarity with care home resident Christina Wilson (pictured) - the main message all concerned wanted to promote was the need to “keep the momentum going”.

Spokeswoman Laura Owens said: “People feel very strongly about what Bield want to do in all of the areas affected, and everyone we have spoken to is appalled that a place which is literally a home to its residents can be disposed of in this way.

“Ultimately we want our care home, and all the others, to be fully protected and taken under council control.

“That’s why on December 12 the members of around 15 local families will be getting on a bus and going to Edinburgh to show the strength of feeling against the closures”.

On that day a key Holyrood committee will have to make a crunch decision on whether and how to intervene in a shut-down plan that has become an issue of national importance.

Beyond the effect on Bield residents, it’s argued that if loss-making care homes can be disposed of without government intervention a precedent will have been set for others.

The Keep Bield Care Hopes Open campaign says this means nobody in a home that isn’t in local authority control would then feel secure about their future residence.

On its protest page, the group say: “For a person living with dementia, having familiarity of surroundings and trusted faces contributes to them feeling safe and secure.

“How sad that for so many of Bield’s residents all that they know is about to be taken away from them.

“Bield’s overarching values include ‘Dignity’ and ‘Caring’.

“Their slogan is ‘a home for life’. They plan to close 12 care homes. This is also believed to be affecting 200 staff.

“Several of these homes will be giving notice to their registry body close to Christmas, so time is of the essence.

“We implore the Scottish Government to take action against these closures in order to spare these residents further distress”.

That page, and the petition, can be found at

Bield Housing has said it recognises the impact its closures move will have on residents, and that it will consult residents and their families.

Last month Bield chief executive Brian Logan said talks with other providers could mean some homes staying open.

He said the reasons for the decision - and discussion of options for those affected - would take place in the coming weeks and months.

The firm has said financial pressures have forced it to change the way it operates, and it is involved in a five year plan with the aim of transforming the company by 2022.