Additional capital investment by Northern Trust in their Pinewood facility would “send out a very strong signal” of their commitment to the area.
That’s a view contained in Mid & East Antrim Borough Council’s corporate response to the Northern Health and Social Care Trust’s consultation on statutory residential homes which closed on October 2.
These included a proposal to ‘phase out’ residential care provision at Pinewood in Ballymena “due to the availability of suitable alternative accommodation and to develop it as a rehabilitation facility to cover the Ballymena and Antrim areas”.
At their October monthly meeting, councillors approved a recommended response which pointed out that while Mid and East Antrim Council “support and welcome the development of a rehabilitative services hub” at Pinewood, it queried “what mitigating action the Trust will take to minimise this impact on the existing residents”.
Council’s response also queried: “What consideration, if any, has been given to additional capital investment on this site to enable the Trust to provide a mix of services at the Pinewood site by maintaining a number of residential care beds, whilst developing the rehabilitative care hub and would send a very strong signal to the local community about the Trust’s commitment to the local area.”
Proposing members accept the response, Cr William McCaughey praised those “who fought a long fight to keep these homes open”, stating: “Without that coming together of residents, families and councillors, I don’t think these residential homes would be in an open position today”.
Turning Pinewood into a rehabiliation centre would give it “a new lease of life”, which would be of “great relief” to both residents and employees, he added.