A residential home which has cared for blind and partially-sighted elderly people for nearly 50 years is to close.

Wraysbury Home for the Blind in Beccles Road, Worthing, was opened in 1958 but the charity which owns and runs the home has said it can no longer afford to keep it open.

Worthing Society for the Blind has said its 15 residents, all blind or partially sighted, will be moved to new suitable accommodation when the home closes at the end of July.

John Baker, chief executive of Worthing Society for the Blind, said the home is to close after a period of sustained losses. He blamed changes to government policy which aims to encourage people to remain in their homes rather than seek care home places.

Even though it can house 23 people, falling numbers recently have meant there are currently only 15 residents.

He said: "Unfortunately due to changes in residential care policy by the government we can no longer run or operate the home.

"That ends nearly 50 years of residential care. It is one of the few specialist homes in the area.

"Residents, relatives of residents and staff will all be doing as much as we can during this transition period to relocate everybody.

"It is circumstances beyond our control and there's very little we can do about it.

"It's a very difficult time for everybody and we are trying to make the transition as smooth as possible for the residents.

"We are working very closely with staff and all of the relatives and residents to solve this unfortunate problem.

"We have been in touch with social services and have been in touch with other residential care providers in the area and they will have a choice of moving to ones that are suitable."

He added the building would not be sold off and would remain in the society's ownership for use as either a new headquarters or as sheltered accommodation.

A West Sussex County Council spokeswoman said: "We will be providing a specialist worker for the visually impaired and social workers to advise and assist residents in finding alternative accommodation to move into, including the three residents the county council has in the home.

"Worthing Association for the Blind did not approach the county council for funding to keep the home open as the majority of residents are privately funded. As we understand it, it is about the long-term sustainability of a specialist care home."