Broken lift leaves Hayling Island residents stranded in their own homes

NOT HAPPY Residents of Reading House on Hayling were left stranded for two weeks when the lift broke. Picture: Steve Reid (132522-499)
NOT HAPPY Residents of Reading House on Hayling were left stranded for two weeks when the lift broke. Picture: Steve Reid (132522-499)
From left, Jacob Kennard, Gavin Moon, Ian Doyle and Sarah Talboys-Smith with Shanon Rees and Rodney Watson at the front
 at the Southsea Village in Palmerston Road Picture: Habibur Rahman

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PENSIONERS were left stranded in their homes for days after the only lift at their apartment complex broke down.

Residents of Reading House in Sea Front, Hayling Island, were left frustrated after the lift broke down at the end of August.

Many of the residents are disabled and unable to take the stairs and were housebound until it was finally fixed last Thursday.

They asked for a stair-lift to be put in temporarily, but to no avail.

One of the residents is Jean Howlett.

Speaking before it was fixed, the 69-year-old grandmother said: ‘I can’t go up and down the stairs without assistance because it’s too dangerous.

‘I can’t attempt it, I’m scared of falling.

‘I’ve spasticity in my legs, my legs go in spasms when I’ve been on them for a while.

‘I’ve not been out since last Tuesday.

‘When I moved in here I did not have this condition, I didn’t even use a walking stick.

‘But I wouldn’t have moved in here if there had not been a lift. My condition is deteriorating.

She added: ‘The residents here are at least 60 and some are over 90.

‘In a place like this your health is going to change. This is simply not good enough.’

Troy Francis, regional director for Southern Housing Group, said: ‘We recognise the delay in repairing the lift at Reading House has caused inconvenience and concern to our residents, and we apologise for any difficulty caused.

‘The repairs to the lift have now been completed, and it is back in full working order.

‘Our contractors attempted to complete the associated repairs at the initial visit, however they encountered difficulties sourcing parts.’

He said an officer had visited to keep residents informed.

Extra help was offered by a local support provider, but this was declined by residents, he said.

He added: ‘This experience has highlighted the need for us to explore putting in place some contingency arrangements to ensure we’re more equipped to respond to residents’ needs, should this situation arise again in the future.’