5,000 say no to home closure

Westland  Care Home in Cookstown
Westland Care Home in Cookstown

ALMOST 5,000 people have added their names against any plans to shut Cookstown’s only state-run care home.

The signatures - a total of 4,897 - were gathered in just two weeks after elderly care group Opportunities 4 Older People (O40) launched a petition to save Westlands Residential from closure.

The group say they are not convinced that the Westland Road home is safe from being axed.

The Mid-Ulster based group is now making arrangements to present the huge bundle of opposing signatures to the DUP Minister at Stormont. “This just shows the feeling of the people in Cookstown,” 040 president Margaret Gilbert told the MAIL.

“And we are going to make sure Mr Poots knows it.”

Along with O40 general manageress, Gemma Glasgow, Margaret will be working to arrange a meeting with the Health Minister to pass over the collection of signatures gathered the length and breadth of Mid-Ulster.

“If he is able to clear his diary to see Jean surely he came give us half-an-hour in Stormont,” she added.

“The reality is that keeping Westlands open will prevent bed blocking in Craigavon and Antrim.

“If someone has had major surgery and they need a little bit of TLC they will get it Westlands.”

“Cookstown does not want what happened in Moneymore - the care home was closed 20 years ago.”

“The feeling of the people in this petition shows and we want to make sure the Minister is aware.”

Margaret thanked everyone who added their names to the petition and also the businesses which hosted the petitions.

A march against the closure of Westlands, and other residential homes in the province, has bene organised by Unison.

It will take place on July 1st with buses leaving Cookstown and Magherafelt.