Spirit of the blitz shown as Suffolk care home residents evacuated during east coast storm surge


The spirit of the blitz and a text book crisis plan swung into operation at Stradbroke Court in Lowestoft..

The spirit of the blitz and a text book crisis plan swung into operation at Stradbroke Court in Lowestoft this week when at 4.30pm on Thursday police informed the Care UK team that the home‘s 30 residents needed to be evacuated by 6pm. The care home is in Green Drive in the Pakefield area of the town, about a mile from the sea.

Chris Hopkinson, Care UK’s Regional Operations Director who co-ordinated the evacuation.

Chris Hopkinson, Regional Operations Director at Care UK, said: “My colleagues did absolutely brilliantly and stayed all night to help. The managers at Stradbroke Court, and two other local care homes, Blyford and The Dell quickly coordinated arrangements for transport and all the support they needed. Even carers who were off duty came in to help. There was a great spirit, with all the residents wanting to stay together and we were grateful for support from family members and Suffolk County Council.”

He added: “All the residents had a settled and comfortable night in their temporary home despite the awful weather going on around them.”

In total a team of 16 Care UK colleagues, supported by volunteers from family and friends, helped move 29 residents to The Dell in Beccles and one resident, who was bed bound, was transported by ambulance to Blyford residential home in Lowestoft. Stradbroke Court’s pet guinea-pigs as well as the home’s four pet budgerigar birds, were not forgotten – they were safely evacuated to carers’ homes.

Nicki Fountain, Care UK’s manager at Stradbroke Court, said: “Everything was so calm and went so smoothly and all the Care UK teams in Lowestoft and Beccles worked together so well, with those who weren’t on shift coming in to help and using their own cars to bring the residents’ belongings along to The Dell, where the kitchen team came in and arranged extra catering.”

Lowestoft’s Contract Cars taxi firm also stepped in to help with the evacuation effort. Richard Keeble, who owns the business and already works with Care UK providing transport to day care customers of the Blyford wellbeing centre, quickly responded with transport, providing two mini buses and a taxi to transport residents and carers on the 20 minute journey to Beccles.

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Residents were able to return to Stradbroke Court the next day after the Environment Agency gave the all clear. Thankfully, the flood waters did not reach the home.