STAFF shortages are forcing a care home to close, leaving its elderly residents fearful about where they will now live.

After trying to save the Anna Victoria Nursing Home, in Frinton, the charity which owns it has admitted defeat and told the residents it must close by Christmas.

Christian group, the Pilgrims’ Friend Society, had been searching for a way to keep it open after struggling to recruit nursing staff.

Now devastated residents are distraught at the prospect of losing their home – some openly wept when told the news.

Some have already moved out, while the rest will have to leave before December 20, though the society has promised alternative accommodation will be found for all the residents.

Gary Davies, who has already moved his father-in-law out of the home, said: “The whole thing has been awful.

“My father-in-law is 96 and it has been hard on him. He is lucky he has family to help. Some residents don’t and are completely bewildered by it.

“When it was announced the residents were crying and the staff were crying. This is their home.

“It’s right before Christmas, which is just the worst possible time to make a home full of elderly residents homeless.”

The 28-bed home, in Pole Barn Lane, was opened in 1985 by Christian nurse Marion Payne.

A Pilgrims’ Friend Society spokesman said: “This has been prompted by the continuing challenges we face in recruiting registered nurses.

“We did everything in our power to address the problem.

We moved staff temporarily from our other homes, but clearly, this was not a permanent solution.

“We advertised locally and nationally. Our salary bands were in line with those in the region and, contrary to some misperception, nurses at the Anna Victoria Nursing Home were not required to share our faith beliefs. Our understanding is recruitment is a persistent challenge, as qualified nurses seem to be in short supply in the area.

“Even local agencies have had difficulty at times in supplying us with nurses.

“We held a consultation process to encourage those involved to come up with ideas that could help, but nothing was put forward to enable us to stay open as a nursing home.

“We are sad at having to make this decision, but clearly, a nursing home needs to have qualified nursing staff.”

No decision has been made on the future of the building.