A CARE home has launched an appeal as it continues to protect its residents and staff from coronavirus.

The Charlotte Straker Project, in Corbridge, moved quickly when the pandemic emerged in the UK and set up a new isolation unit to keep the home free from Covid-19.

Now the independent charity needs to raise £70,000 to keep the unit open and running until September, having had no cases of the infection at the home.

The special unit has been used to isolate any unwell resident and any with suspected coronavirus infection. It will also be used to quarantine any new resident who joins the home or any residents returning after a hospital admission.

It has specific staffing arrangements to stop any potential spread of the virus to the rest of the care home, which has access to testing. All staff and residents have tested negative.

The isolation unit will continue to operate until the threat of Covid-19 infection has passed for care homes with the charity paying the direct costs of setting aside the rooms involved.

“There is, unfortunately, a considerable additional cost to our charity of providing this isolation unit,” said Berenice Groves, chairwoman of the trustees at Charlotte Straker.

“It comprises of four adjacent rooms in the east wing of our home, separate from the rest of the building.

"We have sacrificed the income we would normally receive from these rooms to keep everyone safe.”

The charity explained that the Government Coronavirus Support Grant would only cover a fraction of the cost of the isolation unit, providing some help with additional staffing costs.

“There is a continuing need in our local community for the residential and nursing care provided at Charlotte Straker House,” added Berenice.

“But people have been reluctant to be admitted due to the perceived risk of Covid-19 infection.

“Our isolation unit not only protects those already in our care and reassures their families but it also provides reassurance for those who need to be admitted to care.”

Charlotte Straker House - a former cottage hospital - provides residential, nursing and respite care with the facility marking its 100th anniversary in 2018.

Berenice said: “We have very close ties to the local community we serve and beyond.

“People have been fantastic in their support in the past. £70,000 is a lot of money to raise but we are asking for their help again.

“We have done everything in our power to keep those in our care safe during this awful pandemic and must continue to do that.

“It is heartening to know that this small Northumberland community is doing its utmost to protect those who are most vulnerable and frail. Charlotte Straker staff and trustees have worked closely with our village community to protect our residents to ensure we all emerge from this crisis safely.”