It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that towards the end of last year, the Trustees of SJMT had to make one of their most difficult decisions in recent times. This decision was regarding the future of Alexandra Court and sadly, a decision was reached to close the Court.
Alexandra Court has been part of the SJMT housing and care model since the 1990’s. The building was purpose built to provide a safe and supportive environment for people who were no longer able to remain in their home but who were not yet eligible or in need of residential care. The service has provided a safe, supported home to hundreds of people spanning 4 decades and has this has only been possible because of the fantastic staff that have worked at the Court.
When Alexandra Court was built, it was described as ‘extra care’ and it was one of the earliest models of this new type of housing with care. Since then, the housing and care landscape had changed dramatically, and the Court has not been able to keep up due to its small number of units and the design of the small bedsit flats. New models of extra care are far more cost effective for the people that live there and for the organisation’s that run them as they provide a home to hundreds of people and the homes they provide are much larger and more attractive to prospective residents. This has meant that we have been unable to compete with other models of extra care, leading to continual voids (empty properties). We have also had to heavily subsidise the cost of living at the Court as the true costs have been far too high to charge to residents and their families. This has meant that we are losing a large amount of money as a charity just to keep the doors open and this is only likely to increase in the coming year.
Our plan is to close Alexandra Court before the end of March 2024. Eleven residents are affected. During this time, we are working very closely and intensively with residents and their families to ensure that we find a suitable alternative home for them. Some residents will be moving to other SJMT services. We will also follow a formal process with our staff team, and where possible, we will seek alternative employment for staff within SJMT and also YGT wherever this is possible.
This is not a decision we wanted to make or news we wanted to have to share with you, but after thoroughly exploring a wide range of options, we have no alternative. Whilst this will not be a priority for you at this time, we know that many of you will in time want to know what will happen to the building itself when the service closes. SJMT will retain the building and our plan is, in time, to convert this into fewer, but larger one-bedroom apartments and provide alms housing as we do on the rest of the Olton site and other SJMT sites.
We are very sorry to have to share this news with you and want to assure you that the team at SJMT will be here to support residents, families, and staff throughout this process.