New Horsham care home signals firm’s expansion

A FORMER fire station is set to be Horsham’s next care home for adults.

Westhope Lodge, on the North Street edge of Horsham Park, will house ten adults with learning difficulties.

Speaking at the official opening on Friday, Westhope Care director Dermot Hurford said they now have homes at three Horsham sites.

When Westhope Lodge is fully up and running, the company will employ 110 people giving care and support to 50 adults.

“The staff we’ve got just can’t wait to get their residents,” Mr Hurford told the County Times, “They can’t wait to change their lives.

“It’s a vocational career, social care, and it’s a special sort of person that does it.

“What makes us different is the activity programme that we believe is very important to the development of vulnerable people.”

Support for residents, depending on their condition, can extend to relationship help or in some cases support and advice on working a part-time job.

Social care has been under the microscope recently, with widespread fears about the impact of spending cuts.

Mr Hurford said the uncertainty itself has been a problem.

“Over the last 12 months, it’s led to almost inaction in the placement of people, as across the board cuts have to be made,” he said.

“I don’t think councils have had enough time to decide how cuts will be made, and how much of that social care is going to bear.

“I think there’s been a bit of a backlog, there’s a bit of work to be done to place people correctly.”

The building was built as a fire station in 1929, but was turned into council offices after the fire service moved to Hurst Road in 1968.

Council officers say local taxpayers will be £65,000 better off, thanks to income from renting the building to Westhope, and savings on site maintenance.