A desperate care home owner launched a gofundme appeal to raise emergency because he fears he’ll be forced to close as a result of skyrocketing costs caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Glyn Williams, who runs the 28-bed Gwyddfor Residential Homes in Bodedern on Anglesey, revealed his wages bill for the last four-week payroll period had gone up by a massive £7,000.
According to Mr Williams, who bought the home after retiring from the RAF, he will have to shut down in less than a month unless he gets an urgent cash injection.
He has asked his bank for an interest free loan and he has set a £33,000 target on the gofundme page.
Within hours of it going live, the total had reached £5,000 which Mr Williams described as “overwhelming”.
The money will be used to buy additional PPE, lay on activities for residents and to commit to pay the real living wage of £9.30 and hour to all member of staff who were responding “magnificently and heroically” to the unprecedented challenge.
Mr Williams said: “The simple truth is we are in dire straits as things stand. The welfare of our residents is vitally important they are like our extended family. But we just can’t survive as we are so underfunded by the county council.
“It is simply ludicrous the council have calculated their own standard weekly fee to be £760 per week for council-run homes compared to the £576 we receive per resident.
“That may sound like a lot of money but I’ve just been working out our salary costs.
“We’ve recruited trainee staff to help cover the longer shifts and also staff members in isolation.
“We are having to find £7,000 more than we did for our last four weekly pay period.
“During my military service I was trained in biological and nuclear warfare and I know what we needed to do to have a chance of keeping Covid-19 out of our care home and keeping our residents safe.
“This is why I am committed to supporting the Care Forum Wales campaign to shield social care and save lives.
“One thing we needed to reduce risks is minimising footfall through the front door. That needed to be addressed from the start as it’s a major hazard. Where we had staff working short shifts so they were here at the busiest times we now have staff working longer hours.
“We have put our cleaning staff on longer shifts too as well as the maintenance manager working 12 hours shifts too. He ensures everything, and I mean everything, coming into the home is sterilised.
“We are now preparing for staff to move into the care home and work a three-day on, three-day off rota. Staff can’t be expected to work for free.
“It means if we have to escalate things, we can move staff in and to prepare we are converting our training room into a staff dormitory. We have to protect residents and if it means total isolation from the outside world then that’s what we will do.”
He added: “The truth is I think local authorities see care home residents and staff as collateral damage when it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The costs are such I was unable to pay my HMRC PAYE bill last month and I won’t be able to pay the next bill as it stands and unless we get help.
“We are already using what cash reserves we have. I have had to go to the bank and plead for an interest only payment on our mortgage to survive.
“The bank have indicated they will help as unfortunately we don’t qualify for a government grant.
In desperation Glyn wrote to Anglesey County Council asking that they fund their clients up to Gwyddfor Residential Home’s standard private weekly fees.
He said: “This is surely the correct thing to do at this time of national emergency. We shouldn’t be asking families to pay top-up fees at this time. Most of them are struggling or using savings to help pay for care for their loved during normal times.
“It is simply a kick in the teeth to some of the most vulnerable families on Anglesey whilst they are down. It’s unfair during normal times but it’s making life simply impossible during the current crisis.
“I appreciate they use a model across all North Wales authorities when it comes to deciding how much they pay to fund their clients but it’s incredible that they think we can provide a high and safe standard of care during this pandemic on the amount we receive.
“That’s why I have set up the gofundme page as all I want to do is keep my extended family, our residents, alive.
“We really are desperate and at our wit’s end. We are determined to keep this virus out and away from our residents and staff but we need help. Older people in care homes and our dedicated staff deserve to be protected – and that comes at a cost we are currently simply unable to meet.”
Mario Kreft MBE the chair of Care Forum Wales says the desperate financial situation Glyn Williams faces trying to protect his residents and staff is replicated throughout Wales.
He said: “Sadly, the dreadful predicament facing Glyn and his fantastic team is far from unique and there are other care homes in Wales in an even more parlous financial state.
“The scale of the emergency facing the care home sector is totally unprecedented and unless more support is forthcoming, we are facing mass care home closures.
“Costs are going through the roof while income in real terms and occupancy levels are falling.
“Care home owners and their staff simply can’t provide the level of care and expertise needed on the cheap.
“Our vulnerable residents deserve better and they are being badly let down.”
Anybody wanting to make a contribution can do so via: https://www.gofundme.com/f/gwyddfor-residents-amp-staff?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&fbclid=IwAR1wxEbvouMEk9GMq6g3wHMwkzSFQURuePQQRqYmw_