Residents and staff devastated at Isle of Wight care home closure plan

Staff, residents and families are shocked and devastated at news that Polars Care Home is to close in September. With 29 residents and 49 members of staff, Polars has been a well-established part of the community for over 100 years.


It has been announced this week that Polars Care Home, situated in the heart of the Isle of Wight, is to close later this year.

Somerset Care, which also owns Inver House in Bembridge, announced that closure of the Newport home would take place in September.

Staff, residents and their families are shocked and devastated at plans to close Polars, which is home to 29 residents and 49 staff members. One resident has lived there for 16 years.

Call for peaceful protest
Daughter of one of the residents, Alli Reynard, said,

“On behalf of residents, families and staff members, I am seeking support from the Island community to challenge this planned closure by Somerset Care.

“Any help in organising a peaceful public protest would be appreciated.”

Part of community for over 100 years
Alli went on to say,

“Polars has been a well-established part of the community for over 100 years, doctors and local professionals have been shocked to hear of the planned closure as they consider this to be one of the most caring and well-run residential homes in Newport.

“If Polars was to close there would be no replacement building and we would lose part of Newport’s history too. The residents would lose the place they now know as home.”

Somerset Care: Well-being of residents a priority
A spokesperson for Somerset Care said,

“We understand how upsetting this news is for residents, families and staff and we are offering our full support to everyone at this difficult time. Our priority is the well-being of our residents, and Isle of Wight Council care managers are working closely with us to ensure that all residents find new homes quickly and transfer safely.

“We will support staff at risk of redundancy to find new jobs, with help from the Department of Work and Pensions and the Unions.”

Rising costs and pressure of low council fee rates
Chief Executive of Somerset Care, Dr Jane Townson, said:

“Closing a care home is absolutely the last resort and is something we never do without long and careful consideration of all possible options. A combination of factors has led to this decision: pressure on income due to low Council fee rates; rising costs due to increases in National Living Wage, pensions, insurance premium tax, regulatory fees, training levy, Council Tax and general inflationary rises; and high costs of maintaining an old building which is no longer fit for purpose.

“This has resulted in operating losses for a long period, with no sign of improvement.

“Somerset Care is a not-for-profit company with no shareholders. Any surplus we make is reinvested in the business for the benefit of our customers and staff.

“Unfortunately we cannot sustain loss-making services indefinitely without jeopardising the viability of the whole company.

“We are very sorry this decision has been necessary and our goal now is to ensure all residents are safely transferred to their new homes well before the final closure date of 12 September 2017.”

Closure needs to be challenged
Allie went on to add,

“The building was initially purpose built for the blind with the front part still being used as a private residence, and then being upgraded to a residential home, we desperately need to save this residential home. The amount of residential facilities available on the Island needs to grow as the demand grows, decisions regarding planned closure should also be challenged at social services level too.

“The home does a lot of charity events, involving family, friends, staff, and residents every year, supporting such things as the Hampshire and Isle of Wight air ambulance, The Joe Ellis Trust, Fire Brigade, to name but a few.”

Who are Somerset Care?
Somerset Care is one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare providers in the south of England.

The Company provides around 15,000 hours of community care every week of the year to people in their own homes, and through their residential care services they operate 29 care homes.

Under the name ‘Realise’, Somerset Care provides support to people with learning disabilities.

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Thursday, 15th June, 2017 1:59pm



Filed under: Health, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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21 Comments on "Residents and staff devastated at Isle of Wight care home closure plan"

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This is what 7 years of Tory austerity and cuts gets you.

Imagine what the next 5 years will bring.

Robert Jones
This is likely to be the first of many such closures on the island and elsewhere, and it’s largely attributable to cuts in council support, which stems from government decisions. It IS an old building, indeed it’s an historic one, and that will have imposed extra costs. But the underlying truth is that we’re continually trying to do things on the cheap, in health, social care, education,… Read more »

It’s not the first. Steephill was closed a few months ago.

Stewart Blackmore
This sad trend is set to continue thanks to the disastrous cuts in Adult Social Care by this government and, by extension, the IW Council. Whatever you think of the General Election result ‘austerity’ was soundly rejected by the electorate. We’ll be watching the deal (some might say bribe) being offered to the DUP to prop up this no-hope government. That money should be going to the… Read more »
Phil Jordan
Indeed….. it closed three small homes about two years ago and Osborne cottage in Sept 2014. The three small care homes were taken on by the Council at the time. The reasons for the ‘closures’ all come with identical reasons for their closures. Read above for those! As others are noting, this is a direct result of cuts to funding and is also part of the problems… Read more »
Billy Builder
Phil, whilst I fully agree with you that social care funding is extremely inadequate you do seem to have missed the elephant in the room: costs are rising largely as a result of the BRexit vote 12 months ago. And costs will continue to rise as a result of the falling pound, and due to increased wage bills due to a severe shortage in supply of EU… Read more »
Interestingly, our “bl**dy difficult woman” seems to have caved in on her demand that trade agreements should be discussed in parallel with Brexit negotiations. The terms (and cost) of our exit from the EU will now be agreed *before* discussions on future trade. As to care home staffing? Pretty sure Mrs “Brexit means Brexit” is going to have to cave in on freedom of movement, too, or… Read more »
Phil Jordan
BB: Thanks…. the problem(s) of care delivery on the Island are less to do with Brexit and the increased costs and much more to do with the historical approaches to care and the costing paid to providers. In reality, for example, the rate paid to providers is not a market rate, it was imposed in 2011 after a 5 year (slightly increased) block contract in the dom… Read more »
Billy Builder
Phil, I wasn’t really suggesting that the colsure of this home was directly related to BRexit, as there a a host of existing issues applicabl to this home in particular and other homes mpre generally. The point that I was trying to make was that BRexit and the cost of BRexit will compound these problems, as BRexit will reduce funding, reduce availability og labour and Inc costs… Read more »
Phil Jordan


Thanks for the clarification.

While the austerity measures cannot have helped, I’m not convinced that is the complete answer at all. Throughout my working career I have been continually challenged to save money, and save more money. It is a British disease. We are always striving to do more for less. Some years ago I ran a data centre, and even IBM were astounded we’d managed to get so much out… Read more »

Austerity is a political choice – by government and council, it is not a necessity.

Phil Jordan
mick: It absolutely is…. one comment however regarding the ‘Council’. Since 2010, government has cut funding to the Council by around £70m (per annum from now on). The net budget last year was around £135m. You get so see from these figures that the Council has been forced in to *austerity* measures by the ongoing cuts to its funding. We know that around £12m more has to… Read more »
Some wonderful reasonings for the closure here,, but perhaps this has more to do with Somerset Care than with Brexit (???) or some of the other reasons given here. Steephill was allegedly closed because a private buyer had been found (and a large profit was made) who demanded vacant posession and the rumour mill was full of alleged ‘previous’ with the company. So perhaps this is another… Read more »

I daresay that the Polars site will provide a substantial amount of new housing for our ever increasing population, and who, when the proceeds of sale are handed over, will be rubbing their hands with glee – hmm maybe Somerset Care.


The result of twin evils – austerity and privatisation. And yet the Isle of wight has just voted for more of the same with Bob Seely and a Conservative Council. Expect more of this in the coming years. Protests will be ignored.


I have yet to hear any comment from Bob Seely on this – will he be asking a question is the House as part of his election commitment to represent us?


Too busy eying up the local fox population….


you’re beginning to sound like a broken record StSM.

Steve Goodman
? From where I am, given what we were all told ahead of the own goal election, that just seems like a pointless (pot/kettle?) smear attempt. New MP BS did commit himself to enjoying some nibbles and cutting a ribbon (on his third attempt) at the West Wight Sports Centre’s climbing wall on Saturday. (I assume that if he was a fellow wall crowdfunder, he gave anonymously,… Read more »

And you seem to have a serious malfunction in your sense of humour gland.