Tuesday, 10 June 2014

How the good people of Loveclough (sic) closed a care home for young mentally ill people


Earlier this year ago a care home accommodating four young and vulnerable mentally-ill residents was opened on Penny Lodge Lane, Loveclough, in Rossendale, Lancashire.  Mentally ill people are more likely to be discriminated against, insulted, abused, spat on, punched, kicked and robbed by the rest of the population than most other people.  Clearly, for this reason we should be concerned that they are properly looked after and protected from such dangers by caring and well-trained staff.  As it happens, the circumstances of the four residents were such that they were provided with 24-hour care, so they should have been safe.  But that didn’t stop the local populace from having a go.  After two months of a torrent of abusive emails to the home (with references to ‘schizophrenics’ and ‘paedophiles’), threatening messages left on staff cars, and staff being accosted in the street, the owners of the home have had enough and are moving to a new location (Rossendale Free Press, 6.6.14).  The final kick in the groin came from Nicola May, the Conservative candidate in the local council elections, whose election leaflet stated, ‘I’m just not sure that placing this facility in the middle of an estate full of family homes is the right thing to do’.  ‘We don’t know what kind of people are going to be there’, she recently told the Free Press. 
According to Mr Graeme Proctor, owner of Prospects Supported Living which ran the home, ‘We specifically chose a property on Penny Lodge Lane...as we felt it would have the right community spirit…’  

3 comments:

  1. The owner of this property sub-let their residential property to Prospects on a commercial lease (Prospects are a private profit making company) at an inflated rent in clear breach of the lease. Prospects have a legal claim against the owner as do the owners of properties on Penny Lodge and a solicitor has been instructed. Polite notes were left on cars to ask the inconsiderate owners of the vehicles not to block private drives as people could not access their own properties and polite emails to Prospects were not answered. Being woken up by staff going outside at 3am in the morning to have a chat and a cigarette under your bedroom window is not great when you have to get up to go to work in the morning. Prospects told neighbours that schizophrenics could be housed there which does worry people living there and we do not apologise for being concerned about this - ask Jonathan Zito and Sidney Waller's families if they would be happy with this. The reporting of this has been totally one sided and biased.

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  2. Maybe Michael needs to get both sides of the story first before posting a totally untrue blog. This has appeared in the papers as a totally one sided story, because it sells papers and it provokes a reaction.
    There are a lot of facts that have not been printed that need to be published so that the truth of the matter will come out.
    The owners of the said property sought legal advice before renting their house out to Prospects and were told by their own legal team not to do it as it breached the terms of their lease, they chose to ignore that, FACT. They entered into this knowing it was wrong and instead chose to take a very lucrative rent on the property, FACT.
    They have now breached several covenants on their lease and it is the management company that own the freeholds to the said houses who are taking legal action to remove Prospects from the house, FACT.
    Since Prospects took on the lease they had between 3 and 4 months before patients moved in to contact the residents on the estate, they chose not to, FACT.
    THe supposed abusive notes that were left on staff members cars were actually polite requests not to park them blocking peoples drive ways and in some cases actual roadways on the estate, FACT.
    The bottom line is had Prospects spoke to the residents of the estate all this could have been avoided, they chose not to which leaves me to wonder how good are their communication skills. Based on the lack of responses to residents e mails regarding car parking, infact zero responses, i would say they may need to brush up on their communication skills all round as they seem to be sadly lacking.
    As far as legalities go Prospects have now got a very good claim to recoup the remaining years/ months of the lease from the owners of the house as it was them and not Prospects who broke the lease agreement.

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  3. Dear Julie and Michael,

    Yes, you are right. There are at least two sides to a story (and often more) and I did wonder when I read the 'Free Press' article if there was at lot more to this one. I worked in a newly-built, 60-bed secure hospital for nearly 10 years and the relationship with the local community was generally very good, (just some victimisation and vandalism) thanks to two years of careful preparation by the NHS trust concerned, and continuous liaison. So it did puzzle me why a small unit like this should reportedly have such trouble. Thank you for giving these important details. I hope that a full account will be forthcoming.

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