Nuns' care home set to close after 155 years

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.

Little Sisters of the Poor on Gilmore Place, Edinburgh.

The Little Sisters of the Poor announced plans to leave their St Joseph’s House residence in Edinburgh last year – due to a shortage of nuns but said they were committed to finding another care provider.

However, the religious order, who run homes in Glasgow and Greenock, have rejected two proposals leading to speculation that the premises will now be sold for property development, with the remaining sisters set to leave at the end of October. A meeting was held last Friday in which the total closure plans were announced.

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

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 then 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, but said it was in the interests of the current residents”.

The care home works in partnership with the council and 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.

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 as we find them alternate care either within our homes elsewhere in Scotland or with other care providers – that’s absolutely paramount,”