Thursday, 11 November 2010
Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has met with residents of sheltered housing complexes in Turriff to discuss their fears that warden services will be withdrawn as a result of impending council cutbacks.
Representatives from sheltered housing complexes at Deveron Court, Dawson Court and Erroll Court joined with the residents of Sim Gardens to welcome their constituency MP and express their fears that they will be left to fend for themselves if their wardens are removed as part of a council cost-cutting exercise. Dr. Whiteford conducted an open ‘question and answer’ session, before moving from table to table to chat with the residents personally.
The Banff & Buchan MP told the meeting that she had already written to the Chief Executive of Aberdeenshire Council to advise him of her own concerns at the rumours which were circulating in the sheltered housing community.
Residents stressed the important part which the wardens played in their lives as a reassuring influence – as well as their critical role in the day-to-day operation of the complexes, including helping with the organisation of events, reading mail to partially-sighted residents, assisting with domestic accidents and spillages, and being on hand for medical emergencies.
Many speakers said that they paid quite substantial sums in ‘Supporting People’ charges, and questioned how the Council could potentially remove the warden service when they were effectively being charged for it as part of their tenancy agreement. Several residents also expressed scorn at the manner in which a recent consultation exercise was conducted on the Council’s behalf with regard to service provision.
Dr. Whiteford listened intently to the worries being expressed, and assured the residents that she would be pursuing their concerns vigorously.
Commenting on the meeting later, Dr Whiteford said:
“It is often said that a civilised society may be measured by the way in which it treats the most vulnerable members of its community, and that will surely be the trial which Aberdeenshire Council will face as it addresses the difficult decisions which it will have to make in the coming months.
“I have since received an assurance from Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Community Care that no decisions have been made on the issue of warden cover, and I will be taking further issue with the Chief Executive on a number of factors which should support a presumption against such cuts.
“I would also be particularly keen to ensure that our elderly and infirm residents are not subjected to undue worry and stress as part of that process, and trust that Aberdeenshire Council will do all that it can to allay their fears, by assuring them that they will be fully consulted on any proposals affecting their care.”