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Otley children's home to close this weekend after 114 years
An Otley children’s home will close this weekend after 114 years.
Thousands of young people lived at Inglewood Children’s Home since the original premises were built in Inglewood Drive in 1899.
But the facility, which relocated to Whiteley Croft Garth in the mid-1980s, will shut on Saturday as part of a shake-up by Leeds City Council that will see three smaller homes built.
A former resident, who did not want to be named, praised the positive role Inglewood and its staff had played during the formative years of many children’s lives.
He said: “Inglewood Children’s Home has had many success stories, such as that of Chris Bevan – a former resident who went on to study psychology at university and write a fundraising song for Help for Heroes – who has received publicity for his outstanding educational achievements and charity work.
“It would be nice for young people who may have lived at Inglewood over the years to wish farewell to their former home and what was a sentimental part of many of their childhoods.”
He added that the local authority, however, could have handled the closure with more sensitivity – and should have waited until the new homes were up and running.
He said: “The council wishes the home to be closed to open up three smaller homes.
“However the right decision would have been to open those homes first and then move the young people.
“This was not the case and these young people, who have experienced a difficult childhood, were put under a large amount of stress. The news was broken to them in May when three of them were doing their GCSEs and it created extra pressure and anxiety.”
The city council confirmed Inglewood would close on Saturday and said plans for the three smaller replacement homes, which it was aiming to open as soon as possible, were at an “advanced” stage.
A spokesman added that all the young people who had been living at the Otley home had now been moved to other accommodation, which they were involved in choosing, and were settling in well with support from Inglewood staff.
In an earlier review of its children’s homes, Leeds concluded that Inglewood was too large, did not fit with its aim of using smaller, group homes and earmarked its future closure and replacement.
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