At AUGB’s AGM in 2010 AUGB Rada was given a mandate by the delegates to investigate ways of reducing the financial burden that Sydenhurst was placing on the Association.

During 2010 and 2011 Rada together with Sydenhurst management put in place a series of measures to reduce Sydenhurst’s running costs.  This involved the implementation of two separate restructuring programmes with associated staff reductions and redundancies, and changes to contracts for essential household supplies.  During the same period, however, local authority funding for care places remained static while other prices, particularly for utilities, rose by over 50%.

Rada reported back to the AGM in 2011 and was given a further mandate to explore all options to avoid any further drain on AUGB’s finances.

Following a tender process, the AUGB engaged Knight Frank Rutley, to review all available information in relation to the home, including a planning and feasibility study to confirm the planning history and consider options in the light of local authority planning policies, and to make recommendations on the options for realising the value of Sydenhurst, based upon a variety of scenarios and uses, including the potential for sale as a going concern and other sale options. 

Rada reported back to the AGM in September 2012 and delegates accepted the recommendations of the AUGB’s Audit Committee that the Association could no longer underwrite Sydenhurst’s losses. The AGM authorised Rada to take the final decision upon receipt of full legal advice.

Following legal advice, Rada fulfilled the clear mandate given by the AGM with the decision to close the Home by 30 September 2013 and it has instructed Knight Frank Rutley to market the property for sale. The staff, residents and their families were informed at meetings on 17 and 18 May respectively.

This decision has not been taken lightly. AUGB members acquired the property in 1949 to provide a safe haven for Ukrainian veterans and invalids who were not able to work. Since then, the Association has invested in the fabric of the home and in staff training both to ensure compliance with ever-changing legislative requirements and to provide a safe, caring, multicultural environment for Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians alike. The whole of the Association is very proud of Sydenhurst’s tremendous reputation and excellent standards of care, and pays tribute to the hard work and dedication of the home’s past and present managers and staff.

David White (Manager) and Amanda Boxall (Deputy Manager) have agreed that they will continue to manage the home until closure and we are grateful for their continuing support. They will seek to ensure that the process is handled sensitively for staff and residents and that good quality care is continued during that period. 

The AUGB will comply with the statutory requirements associated with the closure of a Residential Care Home, the requirements of employment law and of resident’s contracts.  In particular, through David White and Amanda Boxall, we will liaise with and keep staff, residents and their relatives informed and communicate regularly. 

In 1949 Sydenhurst was established to protect vulnerable members of the community and during its existence it has provided a high quality, family environment for hundreds of Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians towards the end of their lives.  Many care homes have, however, found it difficult to continue in the face of ever changing statutory and regulatory requirements, including investment, pressure on local authority care budgets and huge increases in prices for essential goods and services.  Sydenhurst is no different and the Association has subsidised its losses and investment needs for many years, to the point at which the level of subsidy needed is putting AUGB’s financial viability at risk.

The Association and its members, whose representations and position on Sydenhurst were made clear during the last AUGB AGM, very much regrets the decision that has had to be made but is certain that this is in the best long term interests of the AUGB and its communities across the country.

AUGB General Council
18 May 2013

Ukrayinska Dumka


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