Blind woman’s despair at closure of St Albans home

A PARTIALLY-sighted resident at a care home which will close in just over two months said that she would rather “curl up and die” than move.

Anne Hewer, 71, is one of 22 people left at St Raphael’s in Avenue Road, St Albans, who are being forced to find a new home after the charity St John’s Guild, which runs the care home for blind and partially sighted elderly people, announced it was closing on September 30.

Speaking from outside the home this week – because the charity has now banned the Herts Advertiser �from entering the premises – Miss Hewer launched a scathing attack on the charity which she thought would help support her for the rest of her days.

She said: “They are saying the home is not fit for purpose but in the end it’s them that are not fit for purpose, I don’t think they are responsible people. They are supposed to be Christians but all they seem to want is money.”

“I understand that they are a charity and can only do so much. But some of the things they have said just don’t fit.”

Miss Hewer, who has been living at the home for three years having previously been moved from her council home in Sandringham Crescent to a flat on the site, continued: “I just want to curl up and die. I nearly died last year and I wish I had gone then. It’s all too much, I don’t want to go anywhere else.


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“It’s very sad, the carers are also all upset and worried about finding other jobs. We are all worried about where we are going to end up.”

If there isn’t any alternative but to close the home, she questioned why the charity couldn’t stop taking in any new residents but let those already at the home – most of whom are in their late 80s or 90s – live out the rest of their days in peace.

Like many Miss Hewer, who lost her sight in 1992, is also confused as to the reason behind the closure.

While the residents have been told that the home is no longer fit for purpose, a letter has been sent to one of their relatives informing them that the decision was taken as part of a “10-year business plan.”

And the charity has so far declined to clarify the matter when invited to do so by the Herts Advertiser on numerous occasions.

Miss Hewer, who grew up in children’s homes before being sent to the convent in London Colney at the age of 16, said she was supposed to be a member of St John’s Guild but had not paid her membership for two years after becoming increasingly disillusioned with the charity.

And she has requested a refund on the �200 she had contributed to St Raphael’s lift appeal so that she can donate it to a different cause.

According to her, St John’s Guild are extremely unhappy that the residents have spoken out against the closure. She said: “They don’t like what we are doing but I don’t understand it if they have nothing to hide.”