Care staff facing a Christmas with no wages have spoken of their outrage after their boss posted pictures online appearing to show her expensive lifestyle – just days after she told them she couldn’t pay them due to ‘financial difficulties’.
Claire Fryer, managing director of The Alder Health Group which is based in Preston, flooded social media with pictures appearing to show an expensive lifestyle of designer clothes and luxury gifts.
Mrs Fryer’s Alder Health Group, which is registered in Cottam Lane, Preston, owns and operates Radcliffe Gardens Nursing Home in Pudsey, West Yorkshire.
The troubled care home had been put into special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in June.
A damning report by the CQC exposed a number of concerns, regarding fire safety, medicine management, and the absence of a registered manager on site.
The home was found to be in breach of regulations and was issued with a ‘notice of intended closure’.
Concerned social workers took urgent action in November and told the families of all 20 residents they would have to leave.
Mrs Fryer appealed to the care tribunal services and a review hearing date has been set for March 2019, but many people had already removed their relatives from the home.
The care home remains open but with no residents.
Mrs Fryer told staff the action taken by Leeds City Council caused her company serious financial issues and left her unable to pay their wages.
But staff were furious when Mrs Fryer posted pictures online, apparently taken during a shopping trip to London, where she ‘treated’ herself to a £195 advent calendar and a new designer coat.
She also spoke of enjoying room service and champagne during Christmas trips to Edinburgh and Newcastle last week.
Lee Naylor, who works as a cook at Radcliffe Gardens, said staff were frantic with worry. But she said their pleas had “fallen on deaf ears”.
She said: “I texted Mrs Fryer asking when to expect my wages as my mortgage is due tomorrow. She told me I wouldn’t be getting paid until at least mid-January.
“The Liberty advent calendar she’s bragging about cost more than what my mortgage is. I explained to her I had no way of paying it. I have no savings. It’s cruel how she is treating the staff and residents.
“Today should have been payday, and a bumper payday at that. Bearing in mind we have been short staffed and staff have had to work extra hours and have gone above and beyond our roles.
“All of us have families and for some this job is their only source of income. Two weeks before Christmas and we have no wage and no job.”
In an email to staff, Mrs Fryer said: “Due to the fact that all residents have been found alternative care placements, the business has been disrupted unexpectedly and is facing serious financial issues.
“We are doing all we can, however as a small family business and with the recent investments there is no surplus funds available.
“A payment was expected by December 7 for the continued service. This payment hasn’t been received and the business is not expecting any further payments.”
As a result, staff were told that they wouldn’t be paid until at least mid-January 2019.
But Leeds City Council disputed Mrs Fryer’s claims that the company has not been paid.
A spokesman said: “Leeds City Council has rigorously checked to ensure that all fees due to be paid in respect of Radcliffe Gardens Nursing Homes by the council have been paid.
“There is no evidence of overdue payments or money owed.
“We have done our best to support staff from the home, signposting them to organisations who can offer support in these circumstances.”
Mrs Fryer did not respond to requests for comment.