You’re out of here - Downs Syndrome man told he must leave - after eight years- following closure of Friday Bridge home

Friday House. Friday Bridge Wisbech.Marion and Mick Ashman. Picture: Steve Williams.

Friday House. Friday Bridge Wisbech.Marion and Mick Ashman. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

A severely disabled man is badly distressed after being forced to quit his home of eight years for temporary respite accommodation.

Friday House. Friday Bridge Wisbech.Marion and Mick Ashman. Picture: Steve Williams.

Friday House. Friday Bridge Wisbech.Marion and Mick Ashman. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Alternative care was found for 59-year-old Stephen Ashman at almost the eleventh hour with him and one other resident the last to leave doomed Friday House at Fridaybridge when it closed yesterday (Thursday).

Mick and Marion Ashman, Stephen’s brother and sister-in-law are furious at the way he has been treated by both the Huntercombe Group, which owed the residential home, and Cambridgeshire’s Learning Disability Partnership (LDP), which is responsible for providing care for vulnerable people.

The couple claim to have received barely a month’s notice of the closure, brought about because of under use, and have been pushing for a suitable alternative to be found to allow Stephen time to adapt to the change.

“He has severe Down’s Syndrome, he can’t communicate, and also has the early signs of dementia. He gets very distressed with change and needs to be eased into it. We wanted to have time to take him for visits to any new home, but we were only told on Tuesday they had found two possible placements.

Friday House. Friday Bridge Wisbech. Picture: Steve Williams.

Friday House. Friday Bridge Wisbech. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant


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“The first was not suitable as residents are locked in and are much older than Stephen. The other is respite care at Conquest Lodge in March, which is much more suitable but is only for six weeks,” explained Marion.

The family feels badly let down by both the Huntercombe Group and Cambridgeshire LDP, but she emphasised staff at Friday House have been very supportive.

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“We feel we have been pulled from pillar to post. We found alternative places for Stephen but were told there was not the funding available to pay for them, it has been so stressful and upsetting for Stephen and for us,” said Mr Ashman.

Friday House is one of two centres which support people with learning difficulties and brain injuries to close this month.

The Huntercombe Group, which has more than 50 hospitals and specialist units, have also closed The Ridgeway.

Stephen is one of 13 patients at Friday House to have faced upheaval while at The Ridgeway four patients have been displaced.

A spokesman for Huntercombe said: “The wellbeing of residents is our priority and we have been working with Cambridgeshire County Council Social Services and Clinical Commissioning Groups to ensure that residents and their families are supported to make appropriate alternative care provision arrangements, although we have no influence on placement decisions, which are between the care commissioners and families.”

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “Council officers have been working closely with the Huntercombe Group, residents and their families to identify alternative residential placements. Permanent residential placements have already been found for seven of the nine Cambridgeshire residents affected, while temporary arrangements have been set up for the other two. Residents and their carers have been supported by members of the Learning Disability Partnership (LDP) throughout to visit these placements and ensure their suitability. “

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