Published: 12:06, 05 August 2020
| Updated: 15:02, 06 August 2020
A struggling care home which featured on Panorama after losing half its residents to Covid-19 has launched an appeal for help following fears it could close in just four weeks time.
Pelham Care Home, in Folkestone, was one of two homes to feature in the hour-long special entitled ‘The Forgotten Frontline’.
WATCH: Staff and actress Jessica Hynes discuss the home's future
The show explored the government's handling of care homes during the pandemic after it was revealed a resident at Pelham was discharged back to the home before receiving the results of his positive test.
Owner and general manager, Roger Waluube, says the care home is now in "dire straits" and could be weeks away from closure.
"We are on our last legs - this is a last throw of the dice to raise funds to see us through the worst time in the home’s 42-year history,” he said.
"We’re gratified that the Pelham family is coming together in an attempt to save Pelham House, and ensure we can continue our mission to provide our residents with the best life they could have."
The death of half its residents has left a big hole in the home's finances.
Mr Waluube added: "We still have ongoing overheads and staff to pay - although we don’t know how long for - but we estimate the next four-to-six weeks will be vital in deciding whether Pelham House can survive as a viable service.
"I might expect to go to three or four funerals a year in normal times, but we have had ten in the space of two weeks.
"This pandemic could well mean the death of Pelham House, as well as the 22,000 who have been lost in care homes across the country.”
BAFTA-winning actress and Folkestone resident, Jessica Hynes has given her support to the campaign.
She said: "It is a tragedy that people have suffered in the way they have.
"My heart goes out to the families of the people who have sadly died at this time, in a way that could have been preventable.
"And also my thoughts are with the residents and carers who would have been massively affected by this - it's a trauma."
Caroline Moran, the daughter of a former resident at the home before the pandemic hit, said: "Pelham House isn't just a care home, it's like a second family.
"They looked after my mum for five years until the end of her life, and it wasn't just the care and treatment, I felt that the staff loved her as well."
The appeal has already raised just over £4,000 of its £50,000 target.
Mr Walubee added: "We are touched by the many kind messages since Panorama told our story - and the generosity of everyone donating to our campaign.
“We are truly grateful for this support, and we thank everyone who can help to save our home which means so much to our residents, staff, local community and friends and relatives."
The home has been virus-free since early July.
To donate, click here.
The Panorama special can be viewed on BBC's iPlayer.