23 July 2021
Northwich residents who had to be evacuated from their retirement development during Storm Christoph earlier this year, can now enjoy their communal lounge following extensive refurbishment works.
Back in January, the storm battered the UK with heavy rain and snow, devastating many homes and businesses, and residents at FirstPort managed Weaver Court in London Road found themselves cut off, with no heating or power, due to excessive flooding.
“The building was an island, we were surrounded by water,” said FirstPort Development Manager Collette Tessler Mulligan. “It even started coming up through the floor in the lounge.”
As water levels rose significantly, many in the area began to evacuate their homes. For Collette and her residents, this presented its own challenges.
“We had no electricity, but by the time they could have evacuated us, it would have been dark,” says Collette, who was mindful of residents with mobility problems. With limited options until the morning, Collette took it upon herself to ensure residents were safe throughout the night and prepared for evacuation the following day.
“All I could do all night was walk the floors. The emergency power stopped, because the batteries only last for so long, so I just had the torch on my phone. In the morning, I made sure everyone had something to eat and were packing bags, as I knew we had to leave and would not be back the same day.”
Sam Gibson, FirstPort Retirement Operations Director, says: “Thanks to the sterling efforts of the FirstPort team, the emergency services and local volunteers, all 50 residents were safely evacuated and moved to a nearby hotel, where they stayed for four days. The same outstanding effort was applied to get the development ship shape and back to the home our residents could be proud of. It is lovely to see the lounge as the hub of the community once more.”
After the building was made safe, long term refurbishment work began to return the development to its original state. All FirstPort’s retirement communal lounges were re-opened in May following their closure due to covid, so this is especially pleasing to see the lounge at Weaver Court up and running once again.
Collette says: “I’m so pleased to see residents using the lounge again as it has been nearly two years because of the previous flood. We plan on having a big party once we no longer have to social distance. Until then, residents are happy to meet up in small groups for a quick game of Ramekins. I am looking forward to getting my thinking cap on to come up with some new social activities for them!”
Weaver Court resident Joy Potts adds: “I can’t wait for a good old knees up and to be able to mix with my friends at Weaver Court!”