Fears after closure of lifeline Sunderland home

Joan Buck and her daughter Joanne.
Joan Buck and her daughter Joanne.
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RELATIVES fear for the future of loved ones after the devastating news that a lifeline holiday home is to close.

A question mark has been left over the care of people with disabilities, after the Donna Claire Venture announced it will shut in December.

Joan Buck, whose daughter Joanne has visited the respite home for more than 10 years, said she is reluctant to send her 33-year-old daughter anywhere else after being offered top-class care at the Seaburn home.

The 57-year-old, of Portland Avenue, Seaham, said: “Joanne has gone there for a long time and it’s done wonders for her visiting a place like this.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do now, because this is the first place I’ve been able to leave Joanne and feel comfortable.

“She went to other places before, but they were terrible and I just couldn’t leave her. Donna Claire is different and Joanne loves it there.”

Joanne, who suffers from cerebral palsy, spends eight weeks a year at Donna Claire, providing a break for both her and her mum, who is Joanne’s full-time carer.

“We’re devastated and it’s heart-breaking, it really is,” Joan said.

“It’s disgusting that something like this is being allowed to happen, and I wish I could win the lottery.

“The job the staff do is unbelievable and the kindness they show is something else. They’re all really caring people.”

Sid Braithwaite, 68, has spent the last 45 years caring for his wife Margaret, 66, after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

The only break he gets from caring for her is when she spends time at Donna Claire.

Sid, of East Herrington, said: “Donna Claire Venture has proved a lifeline for disabled people across Sunderland and the North East.

“Geraldine, Audrey, Sue and the rest of the staff there love all of their guests and the carers.

“Margaret has said she feels very sad at the closure and will miss all of the excellent care and love that she has received over the years and all the day trips she was taken on. It will be a great loss to Sunderland.”

Donna Claire is due to close on December 19.

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