Otterhayes home gets back on track with improved rating

Otterhayes near Ottery St Mary

Otterhayes near Ottery St Mary - Credit: Submitted

A home for adults with learning disabilities near Ottery St Mary that faced the threat of closure is now looking forward to a brighter future.

Otterhayes, which provides care and supported living services for 20 grown-ups, was delighted when inspectors from the Care Quality Commission acknowledged the progress it had made.

In October 2019 Otterhayes was assessed by the CQC and rated as “inadequate”.

Some of the residents at Otterhayes during an online video call

Some of the residents at Otterhayes during an online video call - Credit: Submitted

This can be the first step in the process of closing a home, resulting in residents being rehoused in different locations and devastating a community that has built up over 30 years. 

Since that troubling assessment was made, Otterhayes management, staff and supporters have worked selflessly to turn the much-loved home around.

The latest inspection by the CQC, published in February, rated Otterhayes as “requires improvement”. This may not seem a significant move upwards but in care home terms it is a positive advance. 

Otterhayes near Ottery St Mary

Otterhayes near Ottery St Mary - Credit: Submitted

The threat of closure has receded and those involved at Otterhayes say it is now “moving forward apace”, most recently with the introduction of a specialist organisation called Sense, who provide supported living services and who have been selected to run Otterhayes going forward.

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Sue Meech, chair of the trustees, said: “The trustees are delighted to have transferred Otterhayes to Sense, an excellent national provider, thus securing the future of our residents, many of whom have lived with us for decades.

“It was particularly important to us in choosing a provider that they would commit to supporting our residents here at Otterhayes for as long it meets their needs, and we are very pleased that Sense has given this assurance.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the management and staff team for their tireless efforts - in especially difficult circumstances over the last year - in turning the service around. We also pay tribute to the work and vision of Jim and Carolyn Allen who, ahead of their time, established Otterhayes back in 1984.”

The trustees said that what was a depressing story over a year ago has, in spite of the coronavirus, become one of hope, with Otterhayes on course to again be a centre of excellence.

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