FURIOUS families have been left devastated after being told that a much-loved care home is likely to close down due to financial difficulties.

Residents at Liberty of Earley House were told last month that the facility's future was in disarray, with leaders using funds to subsidise the many months of loss-making.

Although the consultation is not yet over, families are already preparing for the worst by undertaking visits to nearby alternatives.

Valerie Burke's 92-year-old mother moved into the home with mobility problems and she is concerned about what the future may hold.

She told the Chronicle: "We are quite willing to help keep it open by paying more money. That is the view of a number of people.

"The residents are very old and it could kill some of them. I have been to other homes and they do not come close to the facilities at Liberty of Earley.

"It is a wonderful place and the care is just wonderful."

The residential care home has seen a steady decline in the number of enquiries since 2016, which has led to an increase in the number of empty flats.

Some families believe the decline in uptake has been down to poor marketing, but trustees of the Earley Charity insist all available channels have been utilised.

Paul Brown, whose mother-in-law resides at the home, added: "Several families are getting very upset about the situation. It is such a lost opportunity for the community.

"The rates are just under £750 per week and other places we have visited charge double that price.

"Moving into this place did my mother-in-law the world of good and then you find out that they are considering closing down."

David Sutton, vice-chair of the charity, said it was kind of families to offer to pay more money, but this would not be a 'long-term solution' to the problem.

He added "The trustees are very aware and very regretful about the concern and distress being caused to the remaining residents of Liberty of Earley House.

"When we opened Liberty of Earley House nearly thirty years ago, the average age of arrival was mid-70s. Now it is over 90.

"Both sheltered housing and nursing care provision continue to be much needed and used, but residential care is being squeezed between them. Hence, Liberty of Earley House is presently one-half empty and with no waiting list at all."