Campaigners are to deliver a 9,000 signature petition to the Scottish Parliament today in a bid to prevent more than 160 elderly residents from having to move in a series of care home closures.

The 12 homes are to be shut down by Bield Housing and Care, between spring and summer 2018, in what the company has described as a strategic shift away from residential care.

But campaigners say losing their homes will cause distress and upset and could be catastrophic for some. The campaign is being led by Laura Owens, whose 87 year old grandmother stays in a care home in Falkirk run by Bield, and whose online petition calls on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to intervene to prevent the closures.

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She and members of 15 other families are to lobby the Health and Sport Committee which is discussing the sustainability of care homes in Scotland.

Ms Owens said: “The thought of my gran and others having to find new accommodation and to go through another long settling in period doesn't bear thinking about. The impact on my gran's and the other residents' mental health would be catastrophic.

My grandmother has said that having to start over again is terrifying. Other residents have said that they feel completely forgotten about and are fearful of what their future holds.

For a person living with dementia, having familiarity of surroundings and trusted faces contributes to them feeling safe and secure. How sad that for so many of Bield's residents all that they know is about to be taken away from them," she added.

She said she had never expected to get so many signatures for her petition. "This issue has clearly struck a chord with people and we implore the Scottish Government to take action against these closures to spare these residents further distress," she added.

Bield has described the closures as a last resort, forced by financial pressures in the sector. It aims to provide more support to people living in their own homes in the community and pledged to minimise the impact as far as possible.