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Elderly Stafford folk trapped in flats by broken lift

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: July 17, 2014

  • STRUGGLE . . . Mildred Eaton, Chris Longshaw and Terry Wynstanley

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ELDERLY residents at a Stafford sheltered housing complex have been left trapped in their flats for three months because of a broken lift.

Lichfield Court's lift broke down in April. But more than 12 weeks on it is still out of action, to the frustration of residents with mobility problems.

Upstairs resident Amy Buff, 87, cannot get down the stairs unaided, confining her to the first floor of the Lichfield Road complex if her daughter or neighbours are not around.

Daughter Barbara Campbell, who lives in Southampton, said her mother had attended a hospital appointment, following a recent knee operation, only to struggle to get back upstairs again as the stair lift, installed to temporarily replace the lift, was not working.

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"She's trapped, she doesn't go downstairs," she said. "She can't do her washing or take her rubbish out. It's disgusting."

Blind neighbour Mildred Eaton, 94, faces a challenging journey downstairs as she is unable to work the stair lift. "I can manage the stairs, but I have to hold on to the rails with both hands," she said.

Her daughter Gill Mooney, who lives in Stone, said: "Normally she would do her own washing downstairs, but I can't risk her coming downstairs with the laundry basket."

Other residents have faced problems with white goods and online grocery shopping deliveries, while a newcomer to the flats has been unable to move in for several weeks because the removals firm cannot get her furniture upstairs.

Stafford and Rural Homes, which runs the sheltered housing scheme, was told of the broken lift shortly before Easter.

But residents told the Newsletter that repair work did not begin until after the holiday period – and a catalogue of issues has plagued them ever since.

There were problems with the work carried out by the first contractor, residents said, including an error which caused them to lose their TV signals for a week.

A second team was called in, but several weeks later the work has still not been completed.

Geoff Murray, 60, said: "It is affecting simple things, like taking a bag of rubbish downstairs or doing your washing."

Terry Wynstanley, 70, added: "People from Stafford and Rural Homes were going to explain to us what was going on. No-one knows what is going on, it's not fair."

Sarah Wyke, head of independent living and customer services for Stafford and Rural Homes, said: "The lift at Lichfield Court was scheduled for routine maintenance in May, but unfortunately this work – which has been carried out by an external contractor - has proved more complex than initially anticipated.

"A temporary stair lift has provided an alterative means of reaching the first floor. While the lift has been under repair, Stafford and Rural Homes has also met with residents to keep them up to date on progress.

"We are sorry for any inconvenience this essential work may have caused. We have been assured by the contractor that the lift will be fully operational again before the end of the month."

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