Felixstowe: Concern at cuts to sheltered housing

FELIXSTOWE: Community leaders today admitted they have serious concerns about how sheltered accommodation will be provided amid cuts to public spending.

Live-in wardens have already been axed and accommodation providers are being forced to look closely at costs.

Town councillors have set up a meeting with bosses at Flagship, which runs much of the social housing in the town, including the Yetton Ward complex where residents have said they are very unhappy about their circumstances, and also Suffolk LINk, which represents public views on health and social care.

Flagship has said it is working to address residents’ concerns.

Jan Garfield, chairman of the council’s community services group, said councillors would also be visiting Yetton Ward in Cricket Hill Road to meet the residents, hear their concerns and see the situation for themselves.

“We have great concerns and we don’t know what provision will be made for sheltered accommodation,” she said. “Until the government gets its house in order, I don’t think anyone is sure what the future will hold for these homes.

“At the meeting we hope to discuss as much as we can with them and see what they will be able to tell us.”

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Residents in Yetton Ward House have been upset by the loss of their full-time warden, replaced by a system where wardens make visits to several homes over a wider area.

They have voiced concerns over communal areas, security, hygiene and smoking.

Intruders have got into the building because doors and windows have been left open as there was no one to check it was secure and monitor it round the clock. It is said they have been “rampaging around at night” inside, leaving residents terrified in their rooms. Sheltered housing used to be lived in by people able to look after themselves, using communal facilities to socialise, with a full-time live-in warden.

But now there are concerns that far more vulnerable people who need more care are being housed there. Flagship Suffolk Heritage has told councillors the sheltered housing service is under review, partly due to a reduction in Support People funding from �24million to �17m.

It has said security at its premises is a top priority and it is working closely with residents and other agencies to address concerns.

? Are wardens essential at sheltered housing complexes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or e-mail evening starletters@evening star.co.uk