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Free respite care offer for local community at Minchinhampton Centre for the Elderly's Horsfall House in Minchinhampton, Stroud, Gloucestershire.

By Stroud Life  |  Posted: April 03, 2013

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FREE respite care is to be offered from this autumn at the Horsfall House care home.

The Minchinhampton Centre for the Elderly, which runs Horsfall House, plans to set one bed aside for the service from the beginning of October.

Horsfall, that serves only the community within a six kilometre radius, will fund the £1,000 a week cost of the bed through its own fund raising efforts.

Centre chairman Nigel Parry said that until now respite care at Horsfall has been accessible either privately or through social services.

But the innovation meant an invaluable lifeline would be offered to local people whatever their means.

"This is a tremendous step for the charity to take and fundraising for the project needs to start immediately," Mr Parry said.

"Although it is a huge commitment, the difference it will make to the local community is incalculable. Many elderly people care for a sick partner or relative in their own home, sometimes 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with very little help."

Mr Parry said those people's dedication and love were tremendously moving.

But they often desperately lacked the support they needed, he said.

Horsfall House opened in 1994 and provides mainly residential nursing and dementia care, home care visits, and day centre care.

Its home care staff also make around 50,000 home visits a year, helping the elderly to stay in their own homes.

The day centre receives some 5,300 visits annually.

When Horsfall's new wing opens this summer it will have 44 beds for the elderly, half for physical infirmity and half in the Cotswold Unit for patients with dementia and severe memory loss.

The charity aims to accommodate equal numbers of private and social services patients in order to provide care for as many people from the community as possible.

A sponsored walk around Gatcombe, Avening and Cherington on May 12 and the annual Horsfall fete on July 21 are just two of the fund raisers planned to help pay for the respite bed.

Jim Harris, fundraising co-ordinator for the Minchinhampton Centre for the Elderly, said that alongside the new respite needs Horsfall supporters would continue to raise money to fund non-private patients.

Social services contributions did not fully cover the actual cost of non-private patients and Mr Harris said: "We believe the services we provide are invaluable to the community and that this additional vital services will make our efforts even more important.

"We are continually grateful to local people for their unstinting and generous support."

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