Why it’s in our children’s best interests to close Minster View
This week, myself and Children and Young People’s Committee colleagues have agreed to permanently close the Minster View children’s home in Southwell.
It isn’t a decision we’ve taken lightly but one we believe is in the best interests of children, both those who lived at Minster View before it temporarily closed in November 2020 and those with similar needs who will need our future support.
I can assure you this decision has been made for carefully considered reasons but, I must stress, it is not about money.
Minster View, as a facility for a residential children’s home, is simply too large, has an institutionalised feel and limits the ability to deliver the quality of care we want to provide our children.
Before its temporary closure, five young people were living at Minster View – with four relocated to private homes and one placed in another council-run home.
Now, following this week’s announcement, we will be moving forward to identify other premises to provide a home or homes for up to four children with severe learning disabilities and very complex behaviours.
When Minster View originally closed on a genuine temporary basis, it was because we simply couldn’t safely staff it due to the pandemic.
However, the last few months have enabled us to evaluate the suitability of the building and we’ve concluded Minster View – built in the 1930s – is no longer a place we would like the children to call home.
And despite its closure, we do have an ever-increasing number of locally based residential home provision at our disposal.
In the last year, the county council has established two new homes and we are currently progressing the purchase of another property as part of the first phase of this programme.
These three two-bed homes are designed to accommodate young people who might require more complex care than, for example, is catered for by our existing mainstream children’s homes.
One home has been opened a year and was recently inspected by Ofsted and found to be ‘good’ in all areas.
The second is due to open this month and, if all goes to plan, the third home should be operational by next summer.
We absolutely recognise that for the small number of children with severe learning difficulties, it’s better that we have our own provision for them.
So, we want to find a new home that caters for young people with very particular needs and make that into a much smaller and suitable home.
What we want is children to feel at home where they live.
Therefore, the best thing we can do for the future care of children is not to put them in Minster View.
Cllr Tracey Taylor, Chairman of Children and Young People’s Committee