The London, Ryde

Elderly residents living in a retirement complex have been trapped in their flats yet again — the lift has broken down for the ninth time in two months.

Following the latest breakdown at The London, Ryde, on Saturday, one resident has missed hospital appointments and another has been storing her rubbish in the shower because she cannot take it downstairs.

Sovereign Housing Association, which owns the retirement complex, has told residents it does not know when the lift will be fixed.

It intends to install stairlifts for residents unable to use the stairs, but that will not be for a couple of weeks.  Some residents say they feel like ‘prisoners’ in their own rooms.

Patricia Smith is celebrating her 87th birthday today (Wednesday) and had hoped to take her friends to lunch, but with the lift out of action, the celebrations have been called off.

Other social events, including coffee mornings and knit and knatter groups, will also be cancelled.

Another resident, Diana Round, has had to cancel three hospital appointments, including a chest x-ray, because she could not manage the stairs.

Margaret Whitewood has been storing her rubbish in the shower because she cannot manage the two flights of stairs to take it out.

Resident Elizabeth Rowell, 81, said she was concerned about her 99-year-old mother, who lives on the other side of the building.

She said:

“I phone my mother every morning to see if she is ok. I visit her as well but she does start to worry if she hasn’t seen me for a couple of days…We are just like prisoners at the moment because we cannot use the lift.”

Elizabeth’s husband, James, has been shopping for neighbours unable to go out and buy food.

Sovereign said it was working to fix the lift, with another engineer due to visit tomorrow (Thursday).

Nicole Sharp, executive director of property services at Sovereign, said:

“We’re really sorry the residents of The London have experienced so many difficulties with the lift in their home recently….

“When technical problems with equipment occur, we work closely with our residents to support them as best we can — this includes keeping them informed of timescales for repair, making arrangements to limit any impact on their day-to-day lives and offering alternative accommodation should they require it.

“To make sure our residents can continue to get to the upper floors of The London, we’ll be installing two new stairlifts within the next couple of weeks.

“This will ensure a back-up solution is permanently in place while we get to the bottom of these technical issues.”