‘We’re like prisoners in our own homes’

Bill Baker Court
Bill Baker Court

Residents living at the Reverend Bill Baker Court in Sutton on Sea have expressed their concerns over the building’s facilities and staffing.

The premises has 36 independent living apartments managed by Anchor and includes care providers on location, overseen by Hica.

Residents have voiced their worries over both the facilities and staffing levels.

One of the main issues has been the lift, which has been out of order on the second floor since September 17 and as the Leader went to press, was still out of action.

One resident said: “The lifts have been out of order for almost three weeks, leaving us unable to get outside. It’s like being a prisoner in your own home. There are two stairlifts on the second flood, but we need wheelchairs, walking aids and buggies to be able to get around outside and these are things which we cannot take on stairlifts.

“We were told someone would come to fix the lift on October 2, which they did, but then two days later on the Sunday, the lift broke again and is still out of action.”

County Coun Steve Palmer echoed residents’ concerns. “After being alerted by a fellow councillor there was something wrong with the lift at Bill Baker Court, I have tried to get to the bottom of it.

“Having spoken to Anchor three times, I have not gained any information.

“It worries me after a fire in and around 2008 that the lift is out of action in a home for the elderly. It also worries me that some residents who live on the top floor tell me they feel like a prisoner because they cannot get downstairs.

Another resident added: “There used to be three to four members of staff at Bill Baker Court, but now there are only one or two at best. If there is only one staff member who is upstairs and an emergency happens downstairs, then they know nothing about it.”

A spokesman for Hica believes they cover the care that is needed at Bill Baker Court and said: “At any point there is always a minimum of one staff member for emergency situations.

“The care and support is based on planned intervention and therefore the key times, such as morning and evening, see greater levels of staff on site. Currently there is one staff vacancy within Reverend Bill Baker Court.”

A local woman who has her mother living at the home is concerned about the residents being isolated. She said: “My mother has lived at Bill Baker Court for the last six years and is 92-years-old. She gets very lonely in there. There used to be a number of activities that used to go on there, but now there aren’t any.”

Another couple who have lived at Bill Baker since it opened said: “We love this place and we don’t want to leave. We’ve been living here since the last brick was put in.

“There used to be an array of parties and everyone used to socialise, but this doesn’t happen anymore. It is not the great place it once was. They are no memories to be made now, there is only sadness which is a shame.”