Red Cross called to care home crisis after Havering Council declined to help own vulnerable residents

08:37 10 January 2014

Residents Brian Laws and Nellie Ifield:

Residents Brian Laws and Nellie Ifield: 'Red Cross did what Havering Council should have done'


The British Red Cross came to the call of the elderly and the vulnerable hours before the council during a 24-hour power cut affecting three sheltered accommodation blocks.

Power went out at 4.30am on January 2 at Sunrise, Solar and Serena Lodges in Hornchurch but it wasn’t until 8.30pm that the council arrived to help the residents some of them in their 90s.

Brian Laws, 73, of Sunrise Lodge, said: “The Red Cross had been there for two and a half hours doing what the council should’ve been doing.”

He said that a message was left on the council’s out-of-hours number at 5am.

“I called later in the day,” he said, “they replied: ‘Well if the electricity people are there then we will leave it’.

“But people had been without heating, hot food or anything for a long time. We’re talking about elderly people and those with multiple sclerosis.”

The Red Cross brought blankets and portable lights whilst a nearby tenant management organisation brought portable heaters.

Mr Laws assisted the Red Cross by making a list of the most vulnerable people.

They brought a lady of 96 down to the lounge of Serena Lodge where there was still heating. They made her a temporary bed so that she could sleep and stay warm.

“A lady with COPD [a lung disease] had to use candles for light which had affected her breathing badly,” Mr Laws said. “The Red Cross took her to the lounge immediately.”

Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Lesley Kelly, said: “We are sorry that our tenants suffered during this period of bad weather.

“We are very grateful to all those who helped, including tenants, neighbours and the Red Cross.

“We apologise wholeheartedly to the residents who had such a bad experience. I have asked for there to be a review of all of our procedures to ensure that this does not happen again.”

UK Power Networks restored the electricity fully by 4am on January 3.


Latest News Stories

Ingrebourne Valley Ltd has lodged an appeal against the council's refusal to the planning application to merge Hornchurch Country Park with Ingrebourne Hill by dumping waste

Controversial plans to dump waste and double the size of Rainham’s Ingrebourne Hill will be considered again next month.

80 years old Arthur Boulton, ex marine, competative smimmer and powerlifter.

As the evenings get colder and darker making it to the gym can be a battle for even the most strong-willed.

Yesterday, 16:53
Picture: Google maps

A 16-year-old boy has been taken to an east London hospital after “suffering a stab wound” police have said.

Yesterday, 14:08
Phyllis Woodham - taken in 1942

“While there are people like you there will always be an England.”

Yesterday, 11:03
First Step having their Christmas bazaar. Santa with Grace Mernagh 8 and Scarlett Farmer 8

Youngsters and families enjoyed visiting Santa’s Grotto and “Mr Snowman’s Wonderland” at First Step’s Christmas bazaar on Saturday.

Yesterday, 07:00
Politicians campaigning in Romford Market

Political leanings were put aside as a campaign supporting Britain leaving the European Union was launched in Romford Market Place last week.

Mon, 18:59
Shoppers hunt for bargains on Black Friday (Credit: PA/ Dominic Lipinski)

Shoppers are expected to be out in force on Black Friday

Mon, 16:52
Warehouse and flat fire in Grenfell Avenue, Hornchurch Picture: Lee Finch

Ten people were evacuated from a block of flats yesterday as firefighters fought to extinguish a blaze.

Most read news

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


Tesco - Every little helps

Would you like to have the opportunity to win a huge £2,500 to spend at Tesco? Well with this amazing prize you can do exactly that! MyOffers are giving you the chance to get your hands on £2,500 to spend on anything you desire may it be free weekly groceries for the foreseeable future, a new TV, home decoration or even a new sofa!

You could get your hands on the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge!

Here’s your chance to win one of the most feature-packed smartphones on the planet, from tech giants Samsung, The Samsung S6 Edge!

Digital Edition

Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder