GMB backs socially distanced protest after care home manager sacked for cooking Christmas dinner
"The residents themselves have chosen to stage a demonstration in support of our member, who has done nothing more than care for those in need", says GMB
GMB, the union for workers in the care sector, will support residents protesting against FirstPort for sacking and evicting a supported living manager for arranging a lawful Christmas lunch.
Pam Sherry, the manager at the supported living facility has been dismissed and given notice to quit her flat by FirstPort, even though the event was lawful, as has been confirmed by Wiltshire Police. The residents share communal facilities in the buildings and have signed a letter confirming that they consider themselves to be in the same bubble.
Residents at Regal Court, Trowbridge are planning to hold a socially distanced demonstration of support for their sacked manager by holding banners saying “Save our Manager”, while wearing masks and standing 2 meters apart outside their retirement home.
Details of the demonstration are as follows:
Wednesday 3rd February – 10am
Regal Court, Trowbridge, BA14 8HJ
Andy Newman, GMB Branch Secretary for Wiltshire said: “FirstPort have acted brutally in sacking this manager. It is totally disproportionate and now she and her husband face homelessness. GMB condemns FirstPort for making this couple homeless during a dangerous pandemic. The union’s advice to our members is to stay put, and refuse to leave, and the union will fight this eviction.
“Our member, Pam Sherry cares deeply about the health and well-being of the residents, and she is deeply concerned that due to isolation over the last year, many of the elderly residents have showed a marked physical and mental deterioration.
“Unbelievably, FirstPort have sacked Pam, because she did not ask permission, and Pam and her husband will now be homeless, as FirstPort are evicting them for their flat.
“The residents live largely independently, though there is a live-in manager, and are adults who can make their own decisions. Shamefully, a FirstPort manager described the residents as “manipulative” for reaching out to each other to overcome their loneliness by forming a wider bubble, and FirstPort seem to view the residents as children to be controlled.
“The residents themselves have chosen to stage a demonstration in support of our member, who has done nothing more than care for those in need.
“Fairhold Homes are the freeholder, and that company owns a large number of supported living facilities. GMB calls on Fairhold Homes to intervene to reinstate Pam, in order to protect their own reputation, as we believe any elderly person should think long and hard before buying a lease in a home that FirstPort manages.”
Media enquiries: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
 See Wiltshire Times article for background: www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/19029476.woman-fired-throwing-socially-distanced-christmas-meal-lonely-residents-trowbridge/
 Regal Court, Trowbridge is a retirement community offering supported living. The development consists of 30 flats and was completed in 2001. Residents buy their leasehold flats, which include the right to use communal facilities, such as the laundry and lounge.
The Freeholder of the development is Fairhold Homes (No. 7). They contract management of the estate to a company called (Estates & Management – 020 8371 2800). In turn, the employment of the site managers is through a further company, Firstport Management Services Ltd –(01425 632400).
 On December 25 2020, Wiltshire was in Tier 2 for the government’s coronavirus restrictions. Pubs and restaurants were open, and the residents who had decided to form an extended bubble could lawfully have visited a pub or restaurant for a meal together.
Wiltshire Police attended Regal Court on 25th December, and confirmed that the event was lawful under the Coronavirus regulations, and a communication to that effect was sent to FirstPort.
 Residents have written letters of support for Pamela, which are available on request. Residents are also available for interview.