Enfield care home’s minibus vandalised

Minibus used to transport elderly residents in wheelchairs badly damaged by thieves

The minibus owned by Elsyng Care Home and (inset) the damage to the front of the vehicle after it was vandalised
The minibus owned by Oakland Care and (inset) the damage to the front of the vehicle after it was vandalised

Christmas trips are being cancelled for elderly residents at an Enfield care home after its minibus was vandalised.

The 16-seater minibus, which is owned by Oakland Care, serves Elsyng House in Forty Hill, as well as its sister homes in Chigwell and Loughton. Thieves ripped off the vehicle’s front bumper, bonnet and headlights in the incident last month.

Stephen Eschmade, hospitality supervisor at Elsyng House, says the home had lots of entertainment planned in the run up to Christmas. “The residents were excited about driving into London to see the lights on Oxford Street,” he said.

“We had trips to the pantomime booked, including Dick Whittington at the Wyllyotts Theatre in Potters Bar. We were aiming to use the minibus to help staff into work over Christmas when public transport is reduced but we are having to re-think all of this due to the damage that was caused.”

Elsyng House, which opened for the first time last year, provides respite care for 76 residents. Staff are now rescheduling events and using taxis for the more mobile residents.

CCTV footage of the vandalism incident has been shared with police. The minibus has been taken away for repairs and while the vehicle is insured, it’s not known at this stage how much it will cost or how long the repairs will take.

Joanne Balmer, chief executive of Oakland Care, said they’re now trying to organise a replacement. “We are using alternative forms of transport where we can to make sure our residents are able to make as many of the planned activities as possible.

“In the meantime, we are doing our utmost to find transport for hire that has all of the required equipment to support wheelchair users. It’s disappointing for residents at any time of year but I think it’s especially difficult in the run up to Christmas when there is so much in the community they planned to take part in.”

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