Up to 140 care home staff are facing redundancy and 60 elderly people have just days to move out after a charity’s financial collapse.

Ranyard, a charity with history going back nearly 150 years, announced it was going into liquidation, leading to the closure of Blackheath homes Mulberry and Dowe House.

But staff say they only found out the news by accident last week and were then hit with redundancy notices. 

It is claimed some people were told to leave then and there, denied the chance to say goodbye to elderly people they had looked after for years.

Ranyard trustees then held a meeting at St Margaret’s Church with tenants’ families, who were "angry and crying" according to one person present.

A staff member, who did not want to be named, said: "Their relatives are 80 or 90 years old. There are only a couple of days to move them so they’re concerned they might even die because of the stress of the move."

Another employee told News Shopper that even people who had worked there for more than 10 years had been given just two weeks’ notice.

News Shopper:

She said: "We only found out by accident.  A person phoned to say they were moving a resident out of the home because we’d gone into liquidation. No one knew until then.

"All the carers are upset. We’ve got mortgages and rent to pay. It’s diabolical how they’ve treated us. When were they going to tell us? Now we’ve got two weeks to find a new job."

She went on: "One girl was told to get her things and get out. She asked if she could say goodbye to the residents. But she was told by the trustees ‘no you can’t, they’re not your residents, get your things and leave’."

The homes have struggled to get new residents since Care Quality Commission reports in recent times, leading to a drop in income while still having to rent premises from the Merchant Taylors Company.

But a care worker said: "They had a year to get the homes in order. This isn’t the fault of carers, this is bad management."

Lewisham Council, which has responsibility for many of the residents, has now intervened to make alternative arrangements for them.

The ward’s Councillor Kevin Bonavia told News Shopper he wanted a full investigation into the collapse. He said: "I am shocked by the suddenness of Ranyard’s closure and the real risk that presents for some of our most vulnerable residents. 
"I expect a thorough investigation into how Ranyard got into this dire position in due course, but the immediate priority is the welfare of the residents themselves.

"I hope the council’s urgent efforts to provide ongoing care and alternative accommodation are successful."

A spokesman for Ranyard said: "Ranyard has been providing care in the area for many years and until recently cared for up to 100 residents. 

"The Care Quality Commission inspected the homes last summer and found care quality did not always match modern standards. 

"This led the trust to stop admissions into the Homes for a time, while these issues were addressed. The number of residents has gone down and at present there are fewer than 60 residents. The decline in numbers has caused income to fall dramatically.

"The trustees have been taking advice from accountants who have reached the conclusion that the Trust must cease to trade with immediate effect. The trust will now begin a process that will lead to liquidation."

A statement from the chairman of trustees said: "It is the end of an era for Ranyard caring for people in south east London. 

"Lewisham Council have been very helpful and supportive in managing the closures. An emergency team is looking for homes that match the needs of residents."