‘Vulnerable’ Sheffield sheltered accommodation residents claim they have been 'abandoned' during lockdown

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“Vulnerable” residents living in a sheltered accommodation unit in Sheffield claim they have been “completely abandoned” by staff at the facility amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff at Applegarth Close in Intake, which houses about 30 people over the age of 55, have reportedly been working from home since March 17 following government orders for people to only travel into work if it is essential.

Josie Kean, who lives at the facility, said two managers are usually on site during the week for two-and-a-half days each to manage the building and check on “vulnerable” people.

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However, when they left, Josie said just one single A4 sign was initially put up in the building reminding people to practice social distancing.

Applegarth Close, Sheffield.Applegarth Close, Sheffield.
Applegarth Close, Sheffield.

She told The Star: “Applegarth Close includes vulnerable people who don't understand social distancing.

“There’s people in here not staying away from other people, it’s dangerous. Since the social distancing measures came in I have seen between five and six people sat outside by the main door where there’s benches. You try to walk through the kitchen and there’s people milling around and not staying two metres apart.

Josie said there are people as old as 90 living in the accommodation.

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She added: “There’s a lot of people in here with serious health conditions.

“Sooner or later it will be like a bush fire in here, that’s my main concern. I just don’t know what I can do. I feel distressed and anxious about it.”

On Wednesday, a 66-year-old resident died at the accommodation. The cause of death has not yet been determined by the Medical Examiner.

“I had to ring this morning [Thursday] to tell the manager what had happened, she didn’t even know. It’s disgusting,” Josie said.

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A spokesperson for Guiness Housing, who run the accommodation, said the while their residents there are older, ‘there is no reason to believe that they do not understand the Government’s very clear guidance on social distancing’.

The spokesperson said that as the residents’ landlord, they can promote social distancing but have no powers to enforce it.

“We continue to provide services and support to residents at Applegarth Close sheltered housing, and this includes maintaining an on-site presence, whilst observing social distancing.

“In line with Public Health England guidance we have introduced additional precautionary measures to safeguard the health and well-being of our residents. This includes advising residents of precautions to take,” the spokesperson said.

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Commenting on the resident’s death, the Guiness Housing spokesperson added: “We are deeply saddened by the death of our resident at Applegarth Close. The resident, who was 66, passed away on March 25 at home.

“The cause of death has not yet been determined by the Medical Examiner. The resident received daily care provision from an independent care provider, and the provider has confirmed that he received his usual four care calls on March 25, as he had done in the days prior.”