Care home offer 'insulting' £50 compensation payout to Northampton pensioners who went all winter without heating

Marianne Sharp, 88, with the electric heater that warmed her flat all winter.
Marianne Sharp, 88, with the electric heater that warmed her flat all winter.
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Pensioners who went all of winter without heating in a Northampton care home say they are "insulted" after being offered £50 compensation for their troubles.

A fault in the sheltered accommodation's under-floor heating meant residents have had to warm themselves by electric heaters for the past four months.

Simon De Senlis Court Care Home.

Simon De Senlis Court Care Home.

Electricity bills for some pensioners for this period have run over £500.

And while engineers failed to fix the problem month after month, residents were still billed for heating they did not receive.

Now, Simon De Senlis Court Care Home, in Roberts Street, off Bailiff Street, have distributed one-off £50 cheques to their customers as compensation.

"I'm insulted," says Marianne Sharp, 88, a resident at Dimon De Senlis Court Care Home. "It has been miserable this winter and this doesn't come close to covering it.

"I've had to heat my entire flat with two little electric heaters. I've had to wear my coat and scarf indoors. It's simply freezing in the bathrooms when you try to wash."

A letter from residents' service manager Malcolm Minns, written to each affected resident and enclosing a cheque, read:

"We are aware of the lack of heating in some of your flats. We apologise that this has taken so long to rectify. This was due to the heating being more technical to repair than anticipated.

"In line with our compensation policy, I have decided to give you £50, enclosed in a cheque in this letter."

Mrs Sharp said: "My electricity bill is through the roof. £50 just does not compensate the suffering, the misery and the cold we have had to go through.

"The letter they sent with the cheque has a phone number to call and discuss, but you just get tied up in this automated answer machine.

"The heating is still broken."

Property developer The Hyde Group, who own and operate Simon de Senlis Court Care Home, have been trying to fix the under-floor heating since November.

Ben Bello, head of housing, said: “We are concerned that residents are unhappy about the compensation offered. The £50 compensation is a discretionary, one-off, payment. However, we appreciate some residents are apprehensive about the possibility of increased electricity bills and would ask anyone with concerns to speak directly to us so that we can review the costs they have incurred and consider any additional payment on an individual, case by case, basis.”

A meeting between residents and representatives from The Hyde Group will be held on March 16.