A HEARTBROKEN mother says she has not seen her son in person for two years because care home bosses have refused to let her.

Brenda Pithers, 57, is a former security worker who lives in Manningtree, where up until three years ago she cared for her son, Terrance Gardener. 

The 28-year-old has severe learning disabilities, mental health problems and also battles physical struggles on a daily basis.

After Brenda started to suffer issues with her hearing, social services suggested it might be best if Terrance was moved into a care home.

Her son was subsequently moved to Donylands Lodge, a facility in Rowhedge, where he has remained ever since.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Brenda said: “It knocked me back a bit when they said I could not care for him anymore but I had to be realistic.

“Unfortunately, I was not able to give him a good quality of life anymore, so this was the best option, to give him somewhere nice to live.

“Social services have done everything they possibly can for Terrance and I and they have really tried to help us.”

Initially, the arrangement worked well for all parties, with Brenda meeting up with Terrance once a week for walks around Colchester Castle Park and lunch trips.

Covid restrictions prevented her from seeing Terrance for some time but Brenda said she was also told she was triggering her son’s violent outbursts.

“They stopped me seeing him, so we had a big meeting and it was decided we would have video calls once a week and I could see him once a month,” added Brenda.

“Nearly a year later and they were barely keeping up with the video contact and now I have not seen him properly in person for two years.

“The excuse they gave me was that Terrance’s violent and mental health outbursts were my fault and every time he saw me he would attack a staff member.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

“They just do not seem to want me at the property and it is absolutely heart-breaking and I cannot understand what the problem is.

“I’ve done everything to help him.”

TLC Care Homes, which runs Donylands Lodge, has now responded to the claims. 

A spokeswoman said: "TLC Care and Support is a long-established Essex based provider of Residential Care and Supported Living services to people aged over 16 from across the South East who live in Essex, Suffolk and Hertfordshire who either have a learning disability, an autistic spectrum disorder with associated complex challenging needs and/or a mental health diagnosis.   

"We respect the privacy and confidentiality of all those we support and therefore it is inappropriate for us to comment in respect of the specific the allegations being made. 

"In general terms, an essential component of providing of support is the agreement between the individual, social workers, other professionals and family and friends regarding the type, location and frequency of appropriate contact that our skilled colleagues then facilitate.

"Necessary safety measures in response to Covid 19 have understandably restricted some planned visits over the last 14 months, but all reasonable efforts continue to be made to facilitate contact agreed to be in the best interests of the individuals we are trusted to support."