Gloucestershire

Elderly tenants march over Stroud warden scheme threat

Sheltered housing residents in Stroud have staged a march in protest against possible cuts in warden services.

Members of the United Sheltered Accommodation Panel handed a 1,100-name petition to council chiefs earlier.

The group, which represents 800 elderly tenants, said senior citizens "felt secure" living with on-site wardens.

The leader of Stroud District Council accused the organisation of having a "scaremongering approach".

'Floating support'

The council has appointed an independent adviser to consult tenants over warden services, which are being reviewed as part of efficiency savings.

Pauline Simpson, chairman of the United Sheltered Accommodation Panel, said an estimated 150 people had attended the march.

She added that 626 people had sent letters to the council over the past few weeks.

She said: "[The warden scheme] is a most cost-effective way of providing low-level care and enables people to live independently longer.

"At the same time a warden can prevent people going much earlier into expensive care homes."

The council has outlined four options, one of which would see no managers living on site. Eighteen staff would offer 'floating support'.

'Unnecessary stress'

Frances Roden, leader of Stroud District Council, said the authority was "very disappointed" with the United Sheltered Accommodation Panel (USAP).

She said: "USAP know very well that we are not pushing for the removal of residential wardens from the housing schemes - in fact when we put forward the options for the future of the service we even stated that removal of live-in wardens was not something we favoured.

"We are, however, in the process of consulting our tenants on the best way forward, so we have to keep the option on the table to allow them to comment.

"Two of the other options even include extending support from wardens to other local people who may need it, and an increase in extra care for those that require additional support.

"USAP's scaremongering approach is creating unnecessary stress and anxiety for the vulnerable people that they represent."

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