A PENSIONER with balance problems has said she could not leave her Ilkeston flat after a lift broke down for the third time this year.
The faulty lift in Aston Court was out of action for seven days last week, leaving Edith Whitehead, 70, who suffers from vertigo and shoulder pain, to tackle the stairs at the Critchley Street block to get out for shopping and church.
Three Valleys Housing, which leases Aston Court to elderly and partially disabled residents, repaired the lift on Tuesday but it had been unusable since the previous Tuesday with workmen blaming the hot weather for damaging a fan.
Fiercely independent Edith had to be helped by staff down the stairs whenever she wanted to leave the flat, but she said it upset her so much she lost sleep and decided to stay indoors leaving her stranded from the outside world.
“The lift is very important to me – it means I can keep my independence,” she said. “It’s only one floor but it makes all the difference to me because I get so dizzy.
“I’ve had nights when I haven’t slept because I’ve been worrying about it. People say I shouldn’t worry but I can’t help it. It’s a lifeline for me.”
Edith, who has no family nearby to help her, said she left her three-wheeled walker downstairs so that staff would not have to carry it up every time she needed to go out.
“At the weekend there was no one around to help but I made an effort to get to church,” she said, explaining that it took her more than 15 minutes to get down the stairs.
Other elderly residents, including one woman in her nineties, also rely on the lift to get outside on a daily basis.
Three Valleys has now apologised to residents and has fixed the lift.
Erewash borough councillor Frank Phillips, said he contacted Three Valleys about the problem as soon as he heard.
“There were a lot of red faces when I confronted them about it,” he said.
“Getting the lift fixed in any property, particularly one which houses elderly and partially disabled people, should be an absolute priority.”
Edith said it is the third time since Christmas that the lift has broken down, but the problem had been sorted out more quickly on previous occasions.
A spokesman from Three Valleys Housing has said that Tuesday morning was the earliest lift manufacturer Schindlers could deliver the part to fix the faulty fan but apologised for any inconvenience it had caused.
He said: “We were sorry to learn that there is a fault with the lift at Aston Court, and are taking urgent action to ensure its repair.
“In the meantime we have contacted all residents affected by the inactive lift and offered support and practical assistance where this is needed, in order to ensure that they are not too inconvenienced by the temporary loss of the lift.
“There was an issue with the lift reported in April but once it was inspected and given the ok by a local elevator repair firm, the lift had since shown no signs of fault until this week.
“We have asked our community care officers to check with the residents at Aston Court to ensure their wellbeing until the lift has been repaired.
“We would like to apologise to the residents who rely on this lift for any inconvenience or anxiety this may have caused.”