Nan, 88, found 'wringing wet' in garden 'insulted' by housing association's gesture

88 year old Patricia Toole in her garden, with her shed that needs repairing
88 year old Patricia Toole in her garden -Credit:Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo

A nan who has lived in the same house for 53 years said she is "insulted" by her housing association's "gesture" after she made a complaint.

Avid gardener, Patricia Toole, from Prenton, claims she can't engage in her favourite hobby due to a leak in her shed, which has rusted "hundreds of pounds worth of gardening tools".

The 88-year-old who suffers from arthritis and has a pacemaker and a blocked valve, claims she has been left having to lift heavy buckets of water, that she has put in the shed to catch the rainwater.

She and her granddaughter, Samantha Skillen said they have been in contact with Onward since December in an attempt to get the problem fixed but that the company have not yet solved the issue. Samantha said that being out in the garden is her nan's "little bit of leisure" while the activity "keeps her mobile".

READ NEXT: Wooden bungalow on the idyllic island cut off by the tide 12 hours a day

READ NEXT: I've just moved to Liverpool and this is how I spent my first week

Samantha, who claims she has called Onward every week since December, told the ECHO: “We ended up finally getting another appointment the other week. Two men turned up - contracted from Liberty (a property maintenance firm) - and they were really good.

“They said they’d put the case through as an emergency and that someone would be in contact within 72 hours."

Avid gardener, Patricia Toole, from Prenton
Avid gardener, Patricia Toole, from Prenton -Credit:Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo

However, when Samantha called again, she claims she was told that there were no notes on Onward's system relating to work being completed. She said she then rang them last week, only to be informed that their system said the work had been done.

She said: “I told them it hasn’t been completed and that I wanted an appointment today. They said all I can do is email admin for Liberty and they will get in touch with the supervisors.

“When I tried to ring Liberty, I went through all the automated systems and couldn’t get to the repair centre.

“The last thing I’ve heard was that Onward would let me know when an appointment was being made and we were offered a £50 goodwill gesture. But I told them there’s hundreds of pounds worth of tools that have rusted in the shed."

Samantha did resort to paying to get the shed roof secured with help from her next-door neighbour, but recent storms meant that this would only be a temporary solution.

Patricia called the £50 "an insult", continuing: “I’ve been gardening since I was evacuated during the war. I absolutely love it, I grow my own rhubarb and spring onions to cook with and it keeps me mobile.

“I’ve been living in this house for 53 years. When we first moved in, the council owned it and if you put a complaint in someone would come round, look at the problem and then an inspector would come round to check it had been fixed.”

Samantha said: "I walked into my nan the other week, absolutely wringing wet, lifting heavy buckets of water.

“Just putting a bit of felt on the roof would be a 10-minute job. They’re getting rent from my nan, never once has she been in arrears.

“Getting out in the garden helps her and keeps her mobile. Her being out in the garden is her little bit of leisure. As soon as there’s a little bit of sun, she’s out there and if she doesn’t answer the phone, we know what she’s up to."

A spokesperson for Onward said: “We are very sorry to Mrs Toole for the distress and inconvenience caused by this situation and are working to put this right as quickly as possible.

"Our contractors carried out an initial visit to establish what works needed to be undertaken, but we acknowledge that there have been delays to completing this that fall short of our standards.

“We are visiting Mrs Toole’s home tomorrow (23rd April) to carry out the repairs and will ensure that she is satisfied with the outcome of the work. We are also in contact with Mrs Toole to understand if she needs any extra help from us.”

Don't miss the biggest and breaking stories by signing up to the Echo Daily newsletter here