Housing scheme fears over cuts

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COUNCILLORS will look into reports that elderly residents feel they are being ‘abandoned’ at sheltered housing schemes.

Residents at two sheltered schemes in the Forest Heath area believe that changes made by Flagship Housing have drastically reduced the level of service they are receiving.

Flagship halved staff numbers as part of its 1Future restructure in May. After receiving reports that the quality of service has plummeted, Forest Heath councillors will look into the situation.

Annette Meadows, a resident from Manor House Close in Brandon, spoke to a meeting of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee on October 6.

Mrs Meadows said the changes had affected residents’ confidence.

“Before you used to feel safe and when you are elderly, feeling safe is very important.

“When we knew the warden was nearby and that you could talk to them it was reassuring but now you are left more or less abandoned,” she said.

She told the meeting that promises made to residents by Flagship had not been kept.

Councillors heard that gardening, window cleaning, satellite TV services and external cleaning of the site had all stopped since May – despite residents still paying for them.

Councillors will visit sheltered housing providers in the area. A report is expected back to council by December 10.

Cllr Tim Huggan called the situation ‘shocking’.

He said: “‘I believe we should look at taking Flagship to court if improvements in standards of care aren’t forthcoming. Flagship should be made to live up to their duty of care to their residents.”

Sally Hanlin, head of care and support at Flagship, said: “All former tenancy related duties are now carried out by a dedicated community manager.

“We believe that by combining the expertise of the housing management team with the sheltered team, we are now delivering a more effective service to our customers within sheltered housing.”