Howestead Lodge, Fenham, Newcastle

Howestead Lodge, Fenham, Newcastle

Abuse probe care home in Fenham closes down

  • May 11, 2012 09:58
  • By Alastair Craig

A CHILDREN’S home at the centre of an alleged abuse probe, has closed indefinitely.

Howestead Lodge in Fenham, Newcastle, was raided by police in July amid allegations of mistreatment of children, staff misconduct, drug taking and assault.

Staff were later cleared of attacking teenage residents – but social services officials continued to investigate standards of care.

The raid came after a whistle-blower claiming to work at the home handed a letter to the children’s welfare charity the NSPCC.

Now details published in the London Gazette, the public record of the financial state of all UK firms, show Howestead Lodge Limited is in liquidation.

Simon Blakey, of Jesmond-based liquidators Robson Laidler, said the firm had hit financial strife following the allegations.

He said the children’s home had not been able to fill its quota of eight beds.

No decision has been taken by the owners of the property on whether to put it up for sale, Mr Blakey added.

The premises in Two Ball Lonnen, which catered for people between 10 and 21, hit the headlines last year.

After case files were reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service, police said there would be no criminal charges following claims by six former residents that they were assaulted by four carers.

However, Northumberland County Council, which is responsible for the children, launched its own investigation into alleged breaches of child protection legislation.

The allegations in the letter handed to the NSPCC, which was later handed to social services and police, include a male staff member having an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old, two carers assaulting teenagers, a staff member watching pornography and one worker drinking and taking drugs.

The detailed six-page document was written by someone claiming to have worked at the home for “a considerable period” and said the allegations should be investigated “as a matter of urgency”.

The eight children who were staying at the home were removed and placed elsewhere. Days later, the residents and all staff were quizzed by detectives on a voluntary basis and a file was sent to the CPS.

The care home was privately-run but used by Northumberland County Council as part of its children’s services department.

Chronicle Live 11/05/12

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