Leonard Cheshire accused of letting down vulnerable residents and ignoring its founding principles
Life is settling down again for Richard Keat after a summer of upheaval and distress. He was one of 20 profoundly disabled residents of a Wiltshire care home summoned to a meeting in May to be told that their residence was to close and that they had until the end of July to find somewhere else to live. Within six weeks of moving, three of them were dead.
Keat, 44, a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, was so upset by the prospect of leaving the Greathouse home in Kington Langley, near Chippenham, that he ended up in hospital after suffering severe weight loss. “He absolutely loved it at Greathouse,” says his mother, Anne Keat. “There was always so much going on, and he soaked it up like a sponge. He made friends he will never see again, some he never said goodbye to.”
Greathouse was run not by a commercial care company, but by disability charity Leonard Cheshire. Its handling of the closure, together with a simultaneous decision to sell 17 other homes as going concerns, has sparked fierce criticism and raised questions about its stewardship of the legacy of its celebrated founder, Group Captain Leonard Cheshire.