Council cuts could leave Wyre Forest OAPs 'on the scrapheap'

Kidderminster Shuttle: Care fears: John Farquhar, holding a copy of the petition and Jean Waldron outside Purcell House in Kidderminster. Picture: Martin Humby. 031405MH. Care fears: John Farquhar, holding a copy of the petition and Jean Waldron outside Purcell House in Kidderminster. Picture: Martin Humby. 031405MH.

ELDERLY people in Wyre Forest say they have been "left of the scrapheap" after being targeted in plans to slash council spending.

More than 1,000 pensioners across the district have been warned by Wyre Forest Sheltered Housing, part of the Community Housing Group (WFCHG), if Worcestershire County Council budget proposals get the go ahead, warden and support worker schemes and call alarm services will come to an end in April.

As part of those programmes, vulnerable elderly people - including those who are prone to falling or cannot eat or dress themselves - are visited by a member of staff.

The council funding currently subsidises those services but if that stops, WFCHG will have to look for a way to provide an alternative service which, even in the best-case scenario, would mean the most vulnerable would be visited less often.

Fears arose after the council announced it wanted to slash its supporting people budget from £15 million to £6.5 million.

Pensioners at Purcell House, Westminster Road, a block of flats for retired people, have spoken to The Shuttle about how the proposals could affect them.

Army veteran Frank Clements, 92, said: "I use it all the time because I am getting on a bit. Several times I have fallen over and cannot get up and they come round then if it is serious they send for an ambulance. I find it disgraceful, they are cutting the wrong things."

Betty Hibbert, 85, added: "I honestly cannot see how it is going to work here with no warden. She gives us so much care and attention and saves a good many of us having to look for nursing home places."

Jean Waldron, 84 and husband Derick, 82, said they were concerned the elderly would need to become carers themselves which they were "not trained for".

John Farquahr, 74, added: "Who is going to look after us? Pensioners are being put on the scrapheap."

A WFCHG spokesman said: "We are currently negotiating with the council and attempting to find other sources of funding to be able to continue to offer services to our tenants. We have set up a series of meetings to speak to all our tenants affected by this and are doing everything possible to respond positively to these sweeping cuts to funding."

Meanwhile, a petition has been started by Kidderminster resident Colin Foxall and Sam Davies from Stourport, to oppose the possible warden cuts. To contact Mr Foxall for more information call 07584 626514.

A final decision is expected to be made in February. Conservative councillor Sheila Blagg, cabinet member for social care, said all views would be listened to and encouraged people to participate in the consultation at worcestershire.gov.uk/futurelives or by visiting libraries and other public buildings.

Comments (10)

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9:11am Thu 16 Jan 14

Wagtail59 says...

Hands up all those who think their £1200 a year Council tax is value for money. Can I get a discount for all those services which are being cut. What about a discount for those services I don't currently use. I'd love to know what the UKIP stance is on all this
Hands up all those who think their £1200 a year Council tax is value for money. Can I get a discount for all those services which are being cut. What about a discount for those services I don't currently use. I'd love to know what the UKIP stance is on all this Wagtail59
  • Score: -2

9:35am Thu 16 Jan 14

Poppasmurf says...

What has UKIP got to do with this? These cuts are being proposed by the Tories, no-one else.
What has UKIP got to do with this? These cuts are being proposed by the Tories, no-one else. Poppasmurf
  • Score: -1

9:55am Thu 16 Jan 14

Wagtail59 says...

Obviously they are Tory cuts but I assume UKIP will be putting forward candidates at the local elections in May. I would like to know what their views are on local finances. I know their views on Europe but what about the local stuff.
Obviously they are Tory cuts but I assume UKIP will be putting forward candidates at the local elections in May. I would like to know what their views are on local finances. I know their views on Europe but what about the local stuff. Wagtail59
  • Score: 10

10:55am Thu 16 Jan 14

Cllr Paul Gittins says...

Any councillor who supports these cuts should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Apart from the good work the wardens and support workers do the alarm call scheme is literarily a life line to those who are prone to falls.
Any councillor who supports these cuts should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Apart from the good work the wardens and support workers do the alarm call scheme is literarily a life line to those who are prone to falls. Cllr Paul Gittins
  • Score: 8

11:26am Thu 16 Jan 14

walkerno5 says...

"Hands up all those who think their £1200 a year Council tax is value for money."

Me. It should be higher, not necessarily for folks who are paying £ 1200 but definitely for the higher bands. If all of the bands were reset and people paid something more like a portion of the value of the property, then we could still support the services we need, like in this case.
"Hands up all those who think their £1200 a year Council tax is value for money." Me. It should be higher, not necessarily for folks who are paying £ 1200 but definitely for the higher bands. If all of the bands were reset and people paid something more like a portion of the value of the property, then we could still support the services we need, like in this case. walkerno5
  • Score: 2

6:27pm Thu 16 Jan 14

stour67 says...

No but use money more wisely not build grandiose offices for themselves and other self grand designs for there own look what i did and pic's in the local papers.
No but use money more wisely not build grandiose offices for themselves and other self grand designs for there own look what i did and pic's in the local papers. stour67
  • Score: 3

6:36pm Thu 16 Jan 14

stour67 says...

Look like the money is to pay for the new incinerator,what did i just write about the grand designs .
Look like the money is to pay for the new incinerator,what did i just write about the grand designs . stour67
  • Score: 0

7:56pm Thu 16 Jan 14

kiaman says...

our senior citizens need this service for some seeing a warden is poss the only person they see.
The alarm system is a genuine lifeline if a person has no family and happens to fall, at the moment they can use the alarm to call for help, what do they do without this.
The powers that have decided this need to take a real hard look at it again, and remember, YOU will be a senior citizen one day, would,nt you want someone there for you !
our senior citizens need this service for some seeing a warden is poss the only person they see. The alarm system is a genuine lifeline if a person has no family and happens to fall, at the moment they can use the alarm to call for help, what do they do without this. The powers that have decided this need to take a real hard look at it again, and remember, YOU will be a senior citizen one day, would,nt you want someone there for you ! kiaman
  • Score: 5

9:01pm Thu 16 Jan 14

DOEPUBLIC says...

Maybe if the councillors actually spent time seeing what life is like for the individual's involved they would respond more appropriately. I suggest each councillor, district and county pledge their time to 'journey' with individuals recognising how vulnerable they are to political whim. As previously suggested , if the social return on investment for each pound of community charge was apparent, people could be prepared to pay more. Unfortunately, charge appears to get more prominence than community. Political passion than compassion. At the end of the day the councillor's are employed by the public.
Maybe if the councillors actually spent time seeing what life is like for the individual's involved they would respond more appropriately. I suggest each councillor, district and county pledge their time to 'journey' with individuals recognising how vulnerable they are to political whim. As previously suggested , if the social return on investment for each pound of community charge was apparent, people could be prepared to pay more. Unfortunately, charge appears to get more prominence than community. Political passion than compassion. At the end of the day the councillor's are employed by the public. DOEPUBLIC
  • Score: 6

9:15pm Thu 16 Jan 14

MRSDEAKIN says...

haven't they put up council tax this year? and haven't they cut some of the funding for people on benefits so they have to pay council tax? so why are they cutting services?
haven't they put up council tax this year? and haven't they cut some of the funding for people on benefits so they have to pay council tax? so why are they cutting services? MRSDEAKIN
  • Score: 3

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