Norwich care home for people with sight loss saved from closure

Thomas Tawell House and (inset) Vision Norfolk co-chair Richard Hanson.

Thomas Tawell House and (inset) Vision Norfolk co-chair Richard Hanson. - Credit: Newman Associates PR

The future of a specialist Norwich care home for visually-impaired people has been secured ending fears it may have to be closed. 

Black Swan Care Group is to take over Thomas Tawell House, on Magpie Road, a 37-bed home currently run by Vision Norfolk.

It means existing residents will be able to continue living in the home while its 41 staff will be retained on the same terms and conditions.

Thomas Tawell House

Thomas Tawell House provides care for residents with sight loss. - Credit: Newman Associates PR

Vision Norfolk co-chair Richard Hanson said: “It has become increasingly difficult in recent years for organisations like ours to run stand-alone care homes, and the Covid pandemic has exacerbated that issue.

“Increased regulatory demands and the well-publicised difficulty in recruiting care staff has made it more difficult to provide the quality of service to our residents that we would wish to.

“In addition, in the medium-term Thomas Tawell House - which opened in 1970 - will require investment in its fabric, which the charity is not in a position to provide.” 

Thomas Tawell House

Current residents at Thomas Tawell House will be able to stay after its running taken over by Black Swan Care Group. - Credit: Newman Associates PR

As part of the arrangement, Vision Norfolk, previously known as Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind, will launch a new service providing care home staff training and support. 

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Initially launched in Black Swan’s 10 care homes in Norfolk, the charity hopes to eventually roll it out to every care home in the county.  

Mr Hanson said sharing advice on specialist needs and how aids like talking clocks and Alexa-style electronic devices can help would “transform lives” for elderly people faced with losing their sight. 

Vision Norfolk co-chair Richard Hanson

Vision Norfolk co-chair Richard Hanson. - Credit: Newman Associates PR

Black Swan has previously worked in partnership with the charity to implement improvement plans for Thomas Tawell House, which resulted in a ‘good’ CQC rating turning around a previous ‘inadequate’ report.

It currently runs 20 care homes across Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Lincolnshire, all of which hold ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ CQC ratings.

Tom Lyons is the Black Swan care group manager. Picture: Ian Burt

Black Swan managing director Tom Lyons - Credit: Archant

Black Swan managing director Tom Lyons said: “We are delighted to be adding Thomas Tawell House to our portfolio of care homes, and look forward to working in partnership with Vision Norfolk to improve the support given to our residents with visual impairments across Norfolk.

“We will be building on the work already done by Vision Norfolk to ensure all residents receive outstanding care.”