Mum’s plea to have daughter moved to ‘suitable’ home

Sam St Pierre with her sister Eve (s)
Sam St Pierre with her sister Eve (s)

A mother desperate for her daughter to be placed in “suitable” accommodation says her pleas are not being listened to.

Alison St Pierre’s 36-year-old daughter Sam has been placed in supported accommodation in Barrowford by Lancashire County Council.

Sam enjoying horse riding (s)

Sam enjoying horse riding (s)

But she says it is inadequate and her daughter’s health is deteriorating before her eyes.

Sam has cerebral palsy and learning disabilities and communicates with a mixture of sign language and speech.

She is in a bungalow with two others, a 79-year-old too frail to move, and a 61-year-old with autism and Alzheimer’s.

Alison, who lives in Fence, says Sam has started with seizures which she believes are stress related and her life is not the same after Sam left a home in Preston following an alleged assault by a staff member.

Alison is hoping that Sam can be moved to Hepdene House in Hebden Bridge.

There Sam would be with others her age and there are more activities taking place to engage her. She would also be closer to her sister, Eve. The one stumbling block, according to Alison, is cost. Sam’s current accommodation is £850 per week and Hepdene is £1,250 per week.

However, according to Alison, the county council already supports somebody in Hepdene and questions why Sam cannot have the same.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council defended its stance saying that it does not have anyone placed in the home in Hebden Bridge and that Sam was not forced to move from Preston.

The county council also say that moving Sam would be a significant additional cost and that her current accommodation is suitable.

Alison said: “I have a petition with 1,300 signatures and a solicitor has come forward. It has definitely given me fresh hope as I’m told it is a fairly simple process.

“People asked why the family don’t pay for it. I’ve just been made redundant from my job so I can’t. I know there are cuts, but Sam’s needs are not being met.

“It has to be down to finance. It can’t be anything else. Lancashire County Council won’t talk to us or tell us how Sam has been assessed.

“All my time now is taken up fighting to get Sam into suitable accommodation. It’s totally exhausting and it’s making me ill. She tells me every day ‘I need to move’. It’s had a devastating effect on her.

“She has stopped communicating. Obviously for somebody who really struggles talking she is then seeing people just ignore her.

“She used to love going horse riding and swimming. She won an award with the Disabled Riding Association and could swim unaided. But she doesn’t do any of that now.

“She was such a happy person, with a smiley disposition. A lovely girl. This has destroyed her mentally.”

The County Council spokesman added: “We have given careful consideration to Ms St Pierre’s needs and believe that her current placement is suitable.

“Currently Ms St Pierre lives in local authority supported living accommodation with associated tenancy rights, with her support plan addressing her wider social needs.

“It has been suggested to us that Ms St Pierre is moved to private residential care outside of the county at significant additional cost. However, we have to make decisions about placements based on an approach that is fair and equitable to all of the people we support.”