TWO sheltered housing in Wellington are set to close after the provider said they were “no longer financially sustainable”.

Abbeyfield Living Society (ALS) said they “made the difficult decision” to close Ivy House and The Old Vicarage.

The charity also said that a possible transfer to another provider “was not feasible” and they “were unable to reach an agreement to proceed”.

Here is a statement from an Abbeyfield Living Society spokesperson:

Investment requirements

“Consultation into the long-term future of Ivy House started following an extensive independent review of all the Abbeyfield Living Society (ALS) stock portfolio, which concluded the home was no longer financially sustainable over the coming five years.

“Significant investment is required to meet the standards expected by prospective residents and regulators, now and in the future and the costs to carry out this work, even if spread over an extended period, are too great for us to meet.

Operating costs

“The past few difficult years dealing with the impact of the Covid pandemic, sector-wide staffing shortages, the huge increase in energy prices, rising inflation and rapidly increasing operating costs has impacted ALS’s ability to control costs and keep the accommodation affordable.

“The reality is that we are operating in a very different environment now; regulatory requirements have changed; the operational landscape has changed and we, along with our peers, are having to navigate in increasingly difficult operating conditions in an unstable climate.

Actions taken

“ALS made a commitment to consult about future options for the home. Over the past few months, ALS has consulted at length with residents, families, staff, local stakeholders, and other organisations about the different options available to try and keep Ivy House open and serving its community.

“As part of the consultation, we approached local, national, general, and specialist housing providers to see if they were interested in taking on the property.

“We also wrote to local commissioning teams and membership societies and held discussions with the Local Authority and the local MP.

“In recent months we have been having in-depth discussions with another provider regarding the potential transfer of the home, and have been going through a complex and rigorous due diligence process to ensure that the proposed solution is in the best interest of residents now and in the future.

“ALS is a regulated social housing provider and must be able to demonstrate to the Regulator of Social Housing and The Charity Commission that a potential new owner has the financial means and experience to manage the house effectively, safely, and sustainably in the future, and can provide assurances around the protection of resident tenancy conditions, compliance with regulatory requirements, consumer standards and staff contractual requirements.

“Unfortunately, due to the level of investment required, the interested party - after completing its additional due diligence - came to a decision that the transfer was not feasible at the previously agreed terms and as a result, we were unable to reach an agreement to proceed.

“With this in mind, we have ended negotiations and have made the difficult decision to close the home.

“Having explored all avenues over the course of the consultation we cannot see a way of maintaining Ivy House as a financially sustainable service that is fit for purpose in the future.

“As a charity, we never want to close any of our homes, however, part of being a responsible organisation is recognising when you need to make a difficult decision, and this regretfully was one of those occasions.


“We do recognise the huge toll the consultation process has had on our residents and have done everything we can to support them throughout the process.

“During the consultation phase we worked on a one-to-one basis with residents to discuss their views and potential options and provided ongoing communication, keeping them informed of any developments and providing a dedicated helpline.

“Our priority now that we have announced closure is to provide affected residents with the support they need to find alternative accommodation where they will be happy.

“We will be holding one-to-one meetings with all residents to discuss the closure process and carrying out assessments to identify any individual needs for relocation assistance or additional support that may be required.

“We are also working with each resident on a case-by-case basis to agree a mutually acceptable notice period.

“Our absolute priority during this difficult period is the comfort and wellbeing of our residents and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that the closure and moving process runs as smoothly as possible for them.

“These decisions are not taken lightly and follow a great deal of work to find an alternative solution.”

Somerset Council said they will provide support and guidance to the residents of two sheltered housing schemes in Wellington after it was announced that they are both set to close.

Councillor Sarah Wakefield, lead member for Adult Social Care at Somerset Council, said: "I am saddened and concerned by the news that Ivy House and The Old Vicarage will be closing and understand the impact that this will have on the residents and their loved ones.

"We had hoped that it might be possible for another operator to take over these facilities but this has not proved possible.

“Our teams are willing and prepared to help them through this difficult time and will absolutely make sure they have access to the support and information they need.”

“We recognise the value and importance of sheltered housing for older people in our communities, and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of affordable and quality accommodation for our ageing population in Somerset.”

Sheltered Housing is a type of accommodation for older people who are mainly retired and can live independently but choose to live in a safe and secure environment.