VULNERABLE elderly people are being abandoned in their flats after funding was cut.

A housing association says it is struggling to provide care and last week dozens of residents were left stranded in their homes after the only lift broke down.

Catherine Lodge, off Baxter Avenue, Southend, is run by Notting Hill Genesis and includes 55 flats for people with medium to high support needs however 24-hour care has been stopped.

Resident Sylvia Myers, 93, said: “No one asked if we had any food.

“We could have all been dead here.

“All the old staff we knew well have gone now and they seem to rely on agency people who always seem very overworked.

“Many people are in wheelchairs here and can’t use the stairs.

“I came here because I thought I would be cared for by staff.

“Someone to call if I had a problem, but now there is nothing really.

“If you can get through to the call centre in Chelmsford, they don’t know what’s going on most of the time.”

A spokesman for Notting Hill Genesis said: “Following the withdrawal of council funding to the service at Catherine Lodge, we were forced to review the services we could continue to provide to residents.

“The funding stopped on April 1, but Notting Hill Genesis continued to fund 24/7 support for a period afterwards, which ended on September 1.

“Residents had been fully consulted on the approach.

“We still have permanent day staff working six hours a day, seven days a week, as well as night staff providing security from 8pm to 8am.

“There is a duty phone for non-urgent enquiries between 8am and 8pm, while each resident has alarm pull cords that fast-track them through to our care and support team, who can contact their next of kin or the emergency services.”

The spokesman added: “We are committed to providing the best possible care we can following the withdrawal of funding and are looking at whether staffing levels can be increased.”

Tony Cox, councillor responsible for adults and housing, said: “Housing related support is there to help people remain independent.

“Over the years this offer has become inconsistent, with some landlords delivering a ‘life-line’ only service, while others offer warden contact each week.

“As part of transforming our services, housing related support services for residents in sheltered housing schemes across the borough changed on April 1, 2017 and are now available through the Peabody floating service.

“However, in the case of Catherine Lodge, council funding and support was extended to March 31, 2018.

“Our new approach ensures that all residents are able to receive the appropriate level of support - when they need it, and for as long as they wish - to help them maintain their independence, manage their needs and retain their tenancy, regardless of the type of accommodation they live in.”

In November 2016, it was revealed Catherine Lodge and nearby Elizabeth Tower, which occupy a large site in Baxter Avenue could be knocked down to make way for a large development offering affordable housing for families and homes for the elderly.

The plans are still being considered. Meanwhile residents have to cope with less care and fewer services.