East Ayrshire ghost town care facility on the brink after being left with one resident

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A Kilmarnock care facility has been reduced to a ghost town after being left with just one resident.

Decimated by bad luck when three people died within a fortnight, Abbeyfield House is now under threat of closure if more residents don’t come their way.

Limited to eight residents the very sheltered housing complex on Cuthbert Place is tailor-made for people who still want to retain part of their independence.

This week, the care facility’s administrator Margo Ure laid it all on the line for the not-for-profit charity.

She told the Kilmarnock Standard: “We could close if we don’t get more residents in soon because we are a charity.

“Right now we only have one resident. We lost three in a fortnight.

“It was really tough going for us when we had four residents but losing three in a few weeks has been utterly devastating for us.”

While coronavirus ripped through care homes throughout the UK, Abbeyfield went largely unaffected with no residents dying of Covid during the pandemic.

But the global health crisis had another cruel consequence for the likes of facilities like Abbeyfield — it made them ‘invisible’.

The usual cycle of residents that would come their way has almost stopped to the extent that the facility is almost at breaking point.

“Because of Covid everything stopped and it’s been like that for two years basically,” Ms Ure added.



Mary Nisbet, 94, is Abbeyfield's only resident.  Pictured with relief housekeeper Lorna Stewart and Margo Ure
Mary Nisbet, 94, is Abbeyfield’s only resident. Pictured with relief housekeeper Lorna Stewart and Margo Ure

“You hear that hospitals can’t free up beds because there’s no care package in place for people.

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“Surely there’s someone sitting on a ward that isn’t well enough to go home but could come to us and get everything done for them?

“See people that need a wee bit of recovery and there’s nobody at home to look after them, that’s where we could come in. But nobody gets put our way.

“One lady came in for respite and stayed for 12 years. She only left us when she went downhill and had to go to a care home.”

With a house keeper on site every day cooking fresh meals and churning out home baking, the facility is aimed at being a stepping stone to a care home — but at less than half the price of a care home each week.



The facility desperately needs new residents
The facility desperately needs new residents



The residents' lounge
The residents’ lounge

The venue also has CCTV with residents getting their cleaning and laundry done for them and when nobody’s on site the community alarms are in place.

“It’s very strange with it being so empty it’s almost like a ghost facility,” Ms Ure admitted. “It’s not a huge building. Apart from the odd visitor and the carers for Mrs Nisbet, our last resident. It just feels very odd.

“I feel we offer a value to ladies and gentlemen who have maybe been widowed and are on their own.

“They’re getting meals done, cleaning and laundry and company from other residents. Especially, with the likes of energy bills going up rumbling about a big house may not appeal to everyone anymore.

“Someone that still has their own independence, they can come and go as they like if they’re fit to do so and we’re on the bus route too.”

“It would be a real shame to lose this facility.”

For more information on Abbeyfield call 01563 542961 or visit https://www.abbeyfield.com/

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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