Alderney’s Connaught Care Home ‘is not for sale’
Alderney States has denied it has any plans to sell the Connaught Care Home, after five directors were removed or resigned.
The care home – a registered charity, which is part-funded by the States of Alderney – has 27 bedrooms offering 24-hour care to older residents, including those with dementia. Five of the six board members of the Connaught Care home were removed or resigned at the end of January.
Three of those removed – James Dent, Nigel Roberts and Jo Jordan – along with fellow director Barbara Benfield, who resigned shortly afterwards, have written open letters to the Alderney Journal criticising the way the removals were handled, the States of Alderney and in particular Policy & Finance chairman Nigel Vooght.
The care home is currently being extended to provide 13 additional rooms. Works were delayed by the Covid pandemic, during which costs increased, and in 2021 the States of Alderney had to pump another £750,000 into the project.
A States of Alderney spokesman said it recognised the input of the previous Connaught Board and their valuable contribution to the operation of the care home.
‘It is our wish that the highest possible level of care continues to be provided to serve and protect the island’s most vulnerable residents efficiently and effectively,’ he said.
‘However, the 2023 annual general meeting scheduled in December could not be held because the directors could not agree on the agenda. As responsible shareholder, the States had to take steps to ensure we were complying with company law.
‘Therefore we passed ordinary resolutions to dispense with the AGM and convey decisions by special written resolution in January to appoint the Board of Directors for the Royal Connaught Residential Home Ltd.’
He added that the States was aware of, but denied, concerns that the Connaught was at risk of losing its charitable status.
‘This is not the case – there is no conflict between company law and the care home’s charitable status.’
The care home now has only three board members, with existing board member Judith Craske being joined by the head of Alderney Care Will Pierce and States member Kevin Gentle.
The spokesman added that it was ‘absolutely committed’ to ensuring affordable, sustainable healthcare for the people of Alderney.
‘That is why we are currently working on an integrated care strategy,’ he said.
‘The Connaught is not for sale nor are there any plans to involve a private company in its operation. The significant and ongoing capital spend on the Connaught in recent years is evidence of this assurance.
‘We have spent this money on the fabric of the care home to vastly improve the quality of residential care on the island.’
He said that the goal of the strategy was for collaboration across all services including the Connaught, the hospital, ambulance service, pharmacy and third sector therapies.
‘To play its part in that vision, the Connaught needs a strong team which we have now begun to put in place. In due course, it will be subject to full public consultation, as is our intention with any major strategies or proposed future policies.’