A LONG-RUNNING hostel for ex-offenders in a village near Winchester is set to close.

Elderfield House in Otterbourne is no longer financially sustainable, says its operator for the last 60 years, the Langley House Trust.

For decades it has provided a place where low and medium risk ex-inmates can live and undertake rehabilitation courses.

One resident told the Chronicle: “Essentially 13 offenders are being kicked out as of March 27. I can guarantee a few will go mad and commit crimes.

“There are other places in Winchester such as West View House, the Nightshelter and Keystones but they are all full.

“I feel very upset and angry. I do not have anywhere else to go, except back to prison. I need an opportunity and a chance to show that I have turned a corner and want to move on from crime.”

The resident, who asked not to be named, said the closure was a false economy. “It costs £37,000 a year to keep a person in prison for a year.”

A spokeswoman for the charity denied the March 27 date and said the consultation with residents and staff was ongoing. There is no date for closure, she said.

She said the root cause was the ending of the Supporting People initiative funding from the county council in 2016. “Since then we have been trying to secure alternative sustainable funding. Very sadly we have not got sustainable funding and therefore the project is at risk of closure. We are at the proposal stage but we are looking to close Elderfield.

“We are working with the clients to find alternative places for them to move on to. We want to make sure they are rehoused.”

Elderfield is the only Langley hostel where residents do a six-month Pathways to Change programme that involves cognitive behaviour therapy.

Winchester MP Steve Brine, who has a long interest in penal issues, told the Chronicle: “Whatever the future for this site, we must recognise as a society that there is no real alternative to rehabilitation for those who makes mistakes and ultimately we will have to divert funds from punishment to repair. No-one is beyond hope or help.”

The future of the building is uncertain. It belongs to the Methodist Church.