A POPULAR day care centre for people with dementia is closing down.

Staff at Mundy House day care, in Church Road, Basildon, have been devastated after they were told yesterday morning the service will shut for good in one month.

Larchwood, the firm which runs the centre and adjoining residential home, claims the day care facility is not making any money.

Twelve staff, including carers and drivers, are set to lose their jobs.

Those who are eligible have been told they will receive redundancy payouts.

More than 20 dementia sufferers visit Mundy House day care every day to socialise, enjoy a range of activities and get specialist support.

One employee, who did not want to be named, said: “The carers are in absolute bits. Some of them have been there for 15 to 18 years.

“The company isn’t making any money out of the day care, and that’s the problem. It just doesn’t seem right.

“Relatives need a break from caring for people with dementia, and some send their loved ones up to three times a week.

“The decision to close the centre is going to cause a lot of people a lot of problems.

“Everyone knew this would happen, we could all see it coming.

“The buses which we use to ferry people to and from Mundy House have not been fit for purpose for a long time.

“When Larchwood took over it promised to buy new ones, but it never happened.

“It was obviously winding down to close all along.” It is thought the building will be used as extra residential space for Mundy House care home, which has 65 beds.

Larchwood, which is part of the Orchard group, took over the home and day care centre from previous provider, Adiemus Care, at the end of last year.

Mundy House is being turned around after inspectors from the Care Quality Commission raised concerns about cleanliness and infection control, staffing, records and monitoring.

During an unannounced visit in August, inspectors found bedrails smeared with food, drink and faeces, and a mattress soaked with urine, as well as dirty ensuite bathrooms.

A spokesman for Larchwood Care said: “We can confirm the day care facility at Mundy House will close in March.

“The home will continue to offer high-quality, full-time residential care, 24 hours a day.

“Larchwood only recently took over the management of the home and, having now completed an internal audit, it is with much regret we are having to take this action, as it is not financially viable to offer nonresidential care.

"We are entering into formal consultation with staff and working in close partnership with social services to ensure a smooth transition for those who use the facility.”