More than a month with no heating or hot water

By Chris Cornford Jan 25, 2021

A care home assistant has been left without heating and hot water since before the middle of December and still has no idea when the problem will be fixed.

Leah Wherry, 25, works at Inglefield Nursing Home, Totland, and has to travel miles at the end of her 12-hour shifts to wash at her parents. Leah, lives at Brookside Close, Freshwater, which is run by the Southern Housing Group, and has been left in tears following a series of missed and bodged appointments. She said: “I originally phoned Southern Housing and their heating engineers, but my first email was sent on December 17. It’s been a nightmare since then.
“I was told an engineer would be there on December 21, so I took time off work. When no one showed, I contacted them both again and was promised someone would be there the following day. Again no one turned up.

“On December 23, an engineer phoned to say they had the parts and they would collect it and be there the next day between 8am and 1pm. Before I left work, I phoned to tell them a friend would be in my flat waiting for the engineer. A few minutes later, they phoned back to say they had gone for the part, but it wasn’t there! Where had it gone?
“The next appointment was made for December 31. Again, I had to be at work, but a friend was there for me. I phoned my friend at 12.55pm and no one had been. So I contacted the company who said an engineer had been there at 12.53pm! When I asked if he could return they said he was already out of the area. Someone came back at 4pm, but he said he just couldn’t fix the boiler; said I needed a new one.

“On Friday, January 8, they came out with the right part – and when that was fitted, I was told I needed another part to go with the first part. I just broke down in tears, not for the first time; I had had enough by then. None of the engineers know how to fix it as they say it’s too old.
“On the 15th, a surveyor came out and took some photos which he said he would send to Southern Housing. But he said some work would have to be done on the outside wall, and as I live on the top floor, it would require scaffolding.

“Now, another week has gone by and nothing has happened. I received a phone call earlier in the week to say the work will be done today (Friday). I replied that I would have to take more time off, so could she definitely confirm. She just said: ‘I think so.’
“Next thing, I got an email from Southern Housing to say they needed more time to complete their enquiries and I would receive an answer to my complaint and a proposed action plan by February 2! What am I supposed to do?

“The whole experience has been a nightmare and nothing has been done to fix it. I work 50 hours a week and it involves three 12-hour shifts from 8am to 8pm from Monday to Wednesday. When I finish, I have to drive to Thorley to visit my parents to shower.

“I’m working in a situation where it’s not safe for me and not safe for them. It’s been awful and I’ve been struggling in a freezing flat. The only thing I have been given is a small heater. I have even had to pay this month’s rent. For what? It’s as if no one can be bothered to help me and I have been fobbed off since day one.”
A spokesman from Southern Housing Group said: “We are aware of the complaint and are sorry for the inconvenience that has been suffered by our resident. We are continuing to work closely with our maintenance team to ensure that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile Leah will wake up in a freezing flat once more this morning not knowing if an engineer will be round to address the situation.