The local community in Folkestone has rallied around one of two care homes featured in the Panorama Special: The Forgotten Frontline broadcast on July 30th, which provided a damning indictment of the Government’s treatment of the care home sector.
In a ground-breaking and unique bid to save the Home from closure in four weeks, friends, families and the local community have joined forces with Pelham House to launch a crowd-funding appeal.
Owner and general manager, Roger Waluube, says the well-respected Home is in dire straits.
“We are on our last legs – this is a last throw of the dice to raise funds to see us through the worst time in the Home’s 42-year history,” he said. “We’re gratified that the Pelham Family is coming together in an attempt to save Pelham House, and ensure we can continue our mission to provide our residents with the best life they could have.”
The hole in the Home’s finances has been created by the loss of ten of its 20 residents to coronavirus, after one of its residents returned from hospital without the result of a Covid-19 being revealed to the Home.
“We still have ongoing overheads and staff to pay – although we don’t know how long for – but we estimate the next four-to-six weeks will be vital in deciding whether Pelham House can survive as a viable service,” says Roger.
“I might expect to go to three or four funerals a year in normal times, but we have had ten in the space of two weeks. This pandemic could well mean the death of Pelham House, as well as the 22,000 who have been lost in care homes across the country.”
BAFTA-winning actress and Folkestone resident, Jessica Hynes has given her support to the campaign.
“It is a tragedy that people have suffered in the way they have,” she says. “My heart goes out to the families of the people who have sadly died at this time, in a way that could have been preventable.
“And also my thoughts are with the residents and carers who would have been massively affected by this – it’s a trauma.”
The daughter of a former resident at the Home before the pandemic hit, Caroline Moran said:
“Pelham House isn’t just a care home, it’s like a second family. They looked after my mum for five years until the end of her life, and it wasn’t just the care and treatment, I felt that the staff loved her as well”.
Donors have already pledged sums between £5 and £500 to the appeal, with many commenting in support of the Home.
“We are touched by the many kind messages since Panorama told our story – and the generosity of everyone donating to our campaign,” added Roger. “We are truly grateful for this support, and we thank everyone who can help to save our Home which means so much to our residents, staff, local community and friends and relatives.”
Pelham House Care Home was one of two homes filmed over several months which featured in the Panorama programme. The UK Government refused an invitation to take part in the broadcast, although the Department of Health issued a statement – the same one which it provided in response to the Public Accounts Committee’s report which concluded that the care home sector had been “thrown to the wolves”.
The Pelham House crowd-funder can be found at: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/pelhamhousecarehome.
Further information about the Home can be found at: www.pelhamcarehome.co.uk.