More money needed for sheltered housing

More investment is being urged for sheltered housing to improve the quality of life for the growing elderly population and free-up more homes for families.

Richard Cornwell

FELIXSTOWE: More investment is being urged for sheltered housing to improve the quality of life for the growing elderly population and free-up more homes for families.

Campaigners say if quality new warden-assisted housing could be provided, older people may be persuaded to leave the larger homes they currently occupy alone or as couples - and prevent the need to build hundreds of new homes.

“Sheltered housing seemed to work very well and now we seem to be moving away from what for many people is a suitable and desirable type of housing,” said Suffolk Coastal councillor Mike Ninnmey .

“We had complexes where wardens lived alongside residents, and people looked after themselves but had someone to call on when needed, someone keeping an eye on them.

“Now we have systems where wardens are responsible for several sites and work on call on shifts and are not around.

Most Read

“The schemes often seem to have people in them who really shouldn't be there but should be in purpose-built accommodation for the very frail or nursing homes.

“I think we have failed to invest properly in sheltered care and we need to look at that urgently.”

Suffolk Heritage Housing Association has more than 100 people on its waiting lists wanting sheltered housing.

In Suffolk Coastal there are 970 sheltered housing and 156 very sheltered housing places provided by housing associations, and 355 sheltered and 41 very sheltered places provided by private companies.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal District Council said “Sheltered housing is one of the council's housing priorities and it works with its partners to increase or improve the availability in this district.”

Is more sheltered housing needed? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

WHEN it opened in 1968, Conford House at Felixstowe was a trailblazer in housing for the elderly.

Opened by the Duchess of Kent, it was one of the first sheltered complexes in the country - 21 flats, plus a lounge where residents could gather to chat, relax or for social events, a TV room and a laundry.

Each flat had a small hall, kitchen with cooker and fridge, living room and bedroom, which were furnished by the residents.

Today the complex in Plymouth Road stands empty and it a year since its last residents left.

Flagship Housing was working jointly with Ipswich Blind Society to redevelop the site with a “very sheltered” home of 32 flats and community facilities for visually impaired residents until the recession put paid to the project, though Flagship was still hoping to carry out a redevelopment scheme when the economy improves.

Emma King, managing director of Flagship Suffolk Heritage, said: “Flagship Suffolk Heritage is in the final stage of decommissioning Conford House and we are currently in discussions with the local authority to determine the most appropriate use for its future.”