Father is furious over state of Norwood flat

By Jessica Elgot, July 21, 2011
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Danielle and Brian Phillips

Danielle and Brian Phillips

The father of an autistic Norwood tenant living in "disgusting" accommodation has criticised the charity over the delay in arranging repairs.

There are damp patches on the ceiling, holes in the roof and walls and peeling plaster in the supported living Norwood flat in Finchley that Danielle Phillips, 30, has been in for three years. Two buckets stand under the hole in the roof to catch the leaking water.

Brian Phillips said he had been trying to get the place fixed up for 10 months, but to no avail.

"The hole in the roof has been there three months," Mr Phillips said. "It's a flat roof and no matter how many times they fix it, it will leak again. It's unacceptable. My daughter is extremely vulnerable and the dirtiness of the house means she gets very upset. Last week, she was so upset she smashed the glass cooker, and had five stitches in her wrist. This is a major trauma for her.

Danielle Phillips surveying some of the damage at her Finchley flat

Danielle Phillips surveying some of the damage at her Finchley flat

"It takes weeks to change a light bulb because of regulations. For Dani, if something isn't working, it can be really traumatic."

A spokesman said Norwood was "well aware the flat in question is in need of significant repair and redecoration", but refuted any "implication that the tenant concerned has not been well cared for or left without proper facilities." A repair team was set to undertake repair work during Ms Phillips' upcoming holiday.

Ms Phillips, who has autism and behavioural problems, has been involved with Norwood since she was four. Her father said that although Norwood staff on site were friendly and sympathetic, they often had no power to get repairs sorted.

"Every time I've visited Dani in the last 10 months I've been asking for things to be fixed," he said. "The place is covered in muck and dust - nothing has been cleaned. I'm not sure if she's supposed to clean it herself, but she can't clean the oven and the fridge. She isn't capable of doing that. The whole place needs replastering."

The charity spokesman stressed that "Norwood takes any complaint relating to its services extremely seriously. In order to minimise disruption to the tenant concerned, we agreed with her in April that we would carry out these repairs during her planned holiday in July. An order was placed on 4 April for these works to be carried out. In the meantime, temporary repairs were made to the roof pending complete re-covering. Work is due to start this week and all internal work is planned to be completed before she returns.

"She is well supported by a staff team who help her on a daily basis with all her complex support needs, which have been agreed with her local authority and with the involvement of her family. We had already planned to meet the tenant's father to discuss his concerns."

    Last updated: 3:13pm, July 21 2011