Margaret, Scheme Manager at Knowsley Housing Trust’s (KHT) Cross Street Sheltered Housing Scheme in Prescot, went above and beyond her duties to help the man who was being coerced into handing over money amounting to £32,000 to a younger man who had befriended him.
She saw what was happening and helped the resident break free from the situation and move to a new home. He is now happy and well and Margaret has been shortlisted in the 2013 Housing Heroes awards as Inspirational Colleague of the Year as a result of her great work.
Margaret noticed the 75-year-old resident was losing weight and when she investigated, found that his fridge and cupboards were empty. He had become very distant and had stopped joining in with social events at the scheme.
On further investigation, she discovered a younger man had been regularly visiting the resident and doing his shopping for him.
She called Social Services and when they checked the resident’s finances they found that £32,000 had been withdrawn from his bank account over 12 months.
Margaret contacted the younger man who said he didn’t know anything about the missing money.
“I knew we had to get him away from this man but the resident thought he was his friend and couldn’t believe he would steal from him.
“I’d noticed the man turned up regularly and was stopping the resident from coming into the scheme’s community hall.”
Margaret began cooking his meals, organising for his shopping to be fetched, taking him to the community hall and calling to check in on him on evenings and weekends to make sure he was ok. He then allowed Margaret, with supervision from KHT and Social Services, to take control of his finances so that every penny could be accounted for.
The man didn’t give up and continued to try to visit the resident, and so Margaret arranged for him to move to a new extra care housing scheme where he would be safe. She even took him to his new accommodation herself.
He has lived there for six months and she keeps in touch with him regularly. He is now back to his old self and loves his new home.
She said: “Our role is to inform social services when we feel there is a safeguarding issue and hand the case over to them.
“But I knew the resident trusted me and I wanted to make him feel safe so I stayed with him throughout the process. The man lived nearby and was watching him, I was scared for him.”
KHT made a video of the case with Margaret which is now used to train other staff in safeguarding residents.
“I didn’t expect the nomination or all this attention,” she said, “but it’s nice to be recognised. It is our job to keep our residents safe, many of whom are vulnerable and have no close family. It is a judgement call, and you have to act fast if you think someone is at risk.
“I just hope this story will make people more aware of elderly or vulnerable people in their neighbourhoods and more able to protect and support them.”
Sheila Tolley, Executive Director of Customers and Communities at KHT, part of the First Ark Group, said: “Margaret is an inspiration to us all. Her dedication and selflessness have helped this resident out of a very distressing situation and back to a safe and happy life.
“It is through staff like her that we are able to offer such high quality support services that allow older people to live securely and independently.”The Housing Heroes awards will be held on June 24 in Manchester.