Stowmarket: Fears over axeing of care home wardens

THE daughter of a 97-year-old resident of a sheltered housing flat in Suffolk has hit out at proposals to cut the number of wardens employed.

And she has warned that changes to care levels could force residents of sheltered flats into more expensive care homes.

Pearl Earrey, whose mother Rene Ford lives at Weston Court in Stowmarket, said she was concerned about proposals to reduce the number of wardens at sheltered homes in the district.

At present, each of the 24 complexes has a warden – either full or part-time – but under changes being introduced next April, they will have only 10 working between all the homes.

Mrs Earrey, from Wickham Market, said: “When I visit the warden’s office, it is constantly busy with residents calling in for assistance.


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“To give one example, the wardens help to arrange transport to the doctor’s surgery or for various appointments to hospital.

“Most of these people are very deaf and are not able to cope easily on the telephone, my mother being one of them.”

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She was concerned that resources used to support wardens were now being diverted by the county council to help other people in their own homes.

“People in sheltered accommodation need support – that is why they are there,” she said.

Martin King, head of housing services at Mid Suffolk District Council, said the changes to wardens were being introduced because of a substantial reduction in the “Supporting People” programme whose money was channelled by the county council.

This year that equated to �17.75 per person per week, but within the next two years it would fall to �6 a week.

Mr King said that by re-organising the wardens’ service, the district would be able to improve the level of cover.

“However, we do recognise that the wardens may not be able to do things like arrange social events for the residents that they may do at present – even though that is not part of their job,” he said.

Suffolk county councillor with responsibility for adult care, Colin Noble, said the Supporting People programme was a central Government initiative which had had its funding reduced by the previous Labour government.

He said: “The county council was only involved in channelling that money, it is up to the districts how it is used.”

Mr Noble said residents in sheltered and very sheltered accommodation were eligible for county council help as much as those who were still in their own homes.

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