CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Vulnerable residents ‘lose confidence’ in housing association after staff lose jobs

Central and Cecil say it needs to “ensure we have the right balance of skills to meet residents’ needs”

15 January, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Oldfield Estate residents Mrs J Gamble, Sally de Sousa and Adrian Hemming outside the Jacqueline House block in Regent’s Park Road

VULNERABLE and elderly residents say they have “lost confidence” in a housing association’s capacity to look after them after a number of its staff lost their jobs before Christmas.

Residents called a meeting at the Oldfield Estate in Regent’s Park Road, overlooking Primrose Hill, with provider Central and Cecil Housing Trust (CCHT) last week. They said they no longer feel safe in the blocks and raised concerns about future development of the elderly people’s homes.

Sally de Sousa, who has lived on the estate for 20 years, said: “There were six office staff here who had been here for a long time and knew the history of the blocks and the residents very well. When I got out of hospital recently, one of the office staff came and visited me in my room.  During that visit she got the news she had lost her job. I am one of the walking wounded here, I’m classed as vulnerable, but I’m still relatively robust. Most of the people here are bed-ridden. There are people who have come off the streets to live here.”

Many Oldfield residents are unable to get out of bed. The rooms have been fitted with non-movement sensors that detect long spells of inactivity. In a letter to managers, Ms de Sousa added: “I have lost confidence in the ability of C&C to provide safe accommodation with support for its sheltered housing residents. We are deeply concerned for our most vulnerable residents who appear to have been overlooked in your plans.”

In 2006, the New Journal reported on the same residents celebrating victory after CCHT said it would scrap plans to evict them and redevelop the large site.

C&C chief executive Julia Ashley told the New Journal that the staff review was carried out to “ensure we have the right balance of skills to meet residents’ needs”, adding: “As part of this process, a number of new positions have been created, for which each member of staff was able to apply. “We are excited about the planned changes and are communicating openly with residents about what to expect, including how this process will help deliver the best possible housing services for each of them. Oldfield is a cherished part of the C&C family and we have no plans to redevelop the site.”

Oldfield was originally built by land-owner Lord Samuels who named the three blocks after his daughters: Carole, Jacqueline and Marion.

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