Future of miners’ home left in doubt

Some beneficiaries of the mineworkers convalescent home .Pictured are Raymond Diamond, Anne Diamond, Betty Bennett, Bill McNeill, Jean & James Robertson & Maria Gibson.
Some beneficiaries of the mineworkers convalescent home .Pictured are Raymond Diamond, Anne Diamond, Betty Bennett, Bill McNeill, Jean & James Robertson & Maria Gibson.

The future of a miners’ convalescent home in Gullane is in doubt after Midlothian Council scrapped its long-standing financial assistance.

Since 1947 respite breaks have been provided for former miners and their dependants at the Lothian Mineworkers Convalescent Home. In the last 15 years this has been provided with the financial assistance of both Mid and East Lothian Councils, and from fund raising.

Of the 200 places offered there each year, 120 are taken by people from Midlothian.

Although East Lothian will continue to provide £5,000 a year and provide reduced rates at the Gullane home, those in charge there are angry that Midlothian Council has cancelled its £10,000 service agreement.

David Brown, chairman of the management committee at Lothian Mineworkers Convalescent Home Trust said: “There has never been a problem with the councils. For the last 15 years both councils have seen the value in financially supporting the miners’ convalescent. Irrespective of what political party is in charge. They struck an agreement to provide accommodation for these people. But they now say it’s not value for money.

“It works out at about £83 a head to support a resident from Midlothian for 10 days. That’s full board, with entertainment laid on also.

“If that’s not value for money I don’t know what is.”

Mr Brown doesn’t know what the future holds now.

He said: “What they suggested to us was another fund we could apply for to get £3,000. We got £1,000 from that. Our £10,000 helped keep the place open for Midlothian.

“We have got fundraising events throughout the year. But that £10,000, along with East Lothian’s money, helped to keep out heads above the water. I don’t know what we are going to do this year. There is no shortage of demand.”

A spokesperson for Midlothian Council said: “In 2014/15, an additional £5,000 was made available to the Lothian Mineworkers Convalescent Home, over and above the service level agreement, through the Wee Breaks Project, to support the transition. However, in 2015/16 the home was unwilling to continue with this method of funding. With the implementation of new legislation for carers there is an increasing requirement for resources to respond to individual family carers needs.

“The home is well placed to provide services to family carers, but this will require that it works with the new funding arrangements in collaboration with other services to ensure that the needs of family carers are pro actively targeted.”