Somerset

Royal British Legion's respite hotels face closure

Somerset Legion House Image copyright Google
Image caption The Somerset Legion House in Weston-super-Mare is at risk of closure

The Royal British Legion could close its convalescent seaside hotels, in a bid to save millions of pounds.

The armed forces charity has proposed cuts to services, saying it needs to prioritise money on the "most urgent calls for help".

Four seaside centres, in Somerset, East Yorkshire, Merseyside and County Antrim, could be closed under the plans.

Consultations will take place with more than 150 staff at risk of redundancy.

Nearly £6m per year could be saved by closing the hotels and a home maintenance service, the BBC's LDRS reported.

'Challenges ahead'

"We are seeing desperate people at their lowest ebb, people that can't afford to pay their rent or feed their families, and we must prioritise our funds based on the most urgent calls for help," the charity's director general Charles Byrne said.

"We are putting forward proposals to ensure the charity can address the challenges ahead of us."

The four hotels at risk of closure are in Weston-super-Mare, Bridlington, Southport and Portrush.

They are primarily used as recovery homes for personnel, or people struggling with a bereavement.

"We do not make these proposals lightly and we are well aware of the impact the proposals could have on our staff who have made hugely valuable contributions to the charity's work," said Mr Byrne.

Since 2016, the number of people requiring help with housing and rent, money, mobility, mental health and well-being issues has jumped by a fifth, the charity said.

The consultation is expected to last until early next year, when any decisions over the potential closures will be announced.

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