Auction of former Budleigh care home to aid elderly through new East Devon charity

The closed Budleigh Salterton Shandford care home will be auctioned next week with funds going to a new East Devon charity set up for old people. [Guide price £750,000 – Owl]

About Author Becca Gliddon eastdevonnews.co.uk 

This poignant photo says it all – Owl

A pile of metal walking frames dumped at Shandford. Photo: Helen Tickle.

The Abbeyfield Society, site owners, said proceeds from the Tuesday, November 3 sale of Lot 68 will be given to newly-formed registered charity The Shandford Trust, to support older people in need who live within the area of Budleigh Salterton and the villages of East Budleigh, Otterton, Colaton Raleigh and Bicton.

The charity will be managed by a board of trustees drawn from the local community and one from The Abbeyfield Society.

When the funds become available, a new website will be launched to highlight the charity, its work, who can apply for financial support and how to apply.

A spokeswoman for The Abbeyfield Society said: “When Abbeyfield originally took over the site it was agreed that any funds raised from a potential sale would be used for the benefit of older people in Budleigh Salterton and other local communities, in line with the objectives of the charity which originally ran the Shandford home.

“In accordance with this, The Abbeyfield Society will be applying funds from the sale of Shandford to a new charity, The Shandford Trust.

“Its main purpose will be to support those older people in need who live within the area of Budleigh Salterton and the villages of East Budleigh, Otterton, Colaton Raleigh and Bicton.

“The Trust will be managed by a board of trustees drawn from the local community and one from The Abbeyfield Society.”

She added: “As soon as funds from the site sale are available, a fully structured website will be launched and publicised locally.

“This will give further details of the background and purposes of the Trust and the names of its trustees, together with information on the criteria for qualifying for support, and when and how to apply.”

The detached 26-bedroom former Shandford care home is being sold at auction through agent Savills, with a freehold guide price of £750,000.

Selling details, with photographs of the building and grounds, highlight the site’s vacant possession, off-street parking, rear garden, ground, second and first floors and ‘further potential subject to the usual consents’.

Abbeyfield said a pile of metal walking frames, dumped outside, are due to be cleared this week.

The former care home, in Station Road, fully-closed in March 2020, during the coronavirus lockdown.

The last remaining residents were moved to other care homes because of an earlier decision made by Abbeyfield that Shandford was ‘not a viable option’ to keep open.

At the time, Abbeyfield said the decision to close Shandford was ‘with great regret’ and taken after a lengthy review of the service, which took into consideration the future of the care home.

It said the decision to close was the result of a detailed review of the infrastructure, building condition and financial performance of the home.

A community drive by Budleigh residents to set up a Community Interest Company to run Shandford as a not-for-profit venture, with public volunteers and annual subscriptions, attracted ‘significant support’ but did not progress.

For more information about Registered Charity Number 1192048 The Shandford Trust, email shandfordtrust@gmail.com

The sad closure of Shandford, well recorded on EDW, raises issues. 

Shandford started as care home in 1958 for local people funded by the people of Budleigh Salterton. In 2012, the trustees ceded it to Abbeyfield.

The closure is based on Abbeyfield’s declared aim of “freeing up assets” as it changes its business model to concentrate on larger homes; and County Councillor Christine Channon’s handpicked adviser, Chris Davis, who claims that Shandford was no longer viable. Owl understands Chris Davis’ report has never been made public.

A local community effort to take back control, failed despite the intervention of newly elected Simon Jupp MP.

During this process Owl received plausible arguments that showed that there were grounds to challenge the case for non-viability.

The latest press report mentions the creation of a new charity to manage the funds “released”. This must have been so recently created that Owl has had difficulty tracking it down. However, Owl’s ferrets did find it through the link between trustees declared on the League of Friends of Budleigh Salterton Hospital.

From the list of the trustees for the newly created Shandford Trust Owl note that Chris Davis now Chairs both the Shandford Trust and the League of Friends. Who chose the trustees? Were the people of Budleigh Salterton consulted?

These Charities have distinctly different aims that do share some common elements. From a conflict of interest point of view, should they share the same Chair?

Hot on the heels of Shandford’s closure, Owl posted the sudden closure of Budleigh Salterton Age Concern facilities provided at the health and wellbeing hub because it was “economically unsustainable”. Examination of the last set of accounts posted on the Charity Commission web site shows assets of over £80,000. Where is this money going?

Owl simply draws attention to the lack of transparency over the way that assets donated by the community over many years has been handled in these cases.

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