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Independent Living

Published on Thursday, 26th January 2017

NBBC has agreed plans to change its sheltered housing service based on feedback from a recent consultation exercise.

At the end of last year, tenants and staff were consulted on the Council’s initial proposals to reduce the cost of the service, a move necessary following the withdrawal of funding by Warwickshire County Council.

The final proposals agreed at Cabinet last night reflect the issues raised during the consultation; the emergency warden service has been retained in its entirety due to concerns about out of hour’s emergencies; four new Wellbeing Officer posts have been introduced to help alleviate concerns about isolation and resources have been put in place to maintain the communal areas, which emerged as a major concern during the consultation exercise.

The changes agreed include the replacement of the Sheltered Housing Service by an Independent Living Service; the move of the bungalow schemes at York Avenue, Poets Corner, Pine Tree Road and Oakham Crescent to a lifeline only service and the decommissioning of four sheltered schemes at Bridge Street, Windsor Court, Hall End and Templar Court. Existing tenants of the decommissioned schemes will be offered £200 towards moving costs for the 12 months following implementation of the proposals.

Going forward, the new Independent Living service will provide what is known as ‘enhanced housing management’. This means that officers maintain contact with residents but have a reduced onsite presence.

The changes will secure the financial savings necessary for the Borough Council to continue to provide the service. Maintaining the service in its current form is not an option as it would put the Council’s Housing Revenue Account below its minimum working balance within a few years, which is against the law.

All changes will take effect from 1 May 2017.

Cllr Julie Jackson, portfolio holder for Housing and Communities said:

“We are saddened that we have had to reduce our sheltered housing service; the loss of the County Council funding has meant that the existing service is no longer affordable and we’ve had to make some tough choices. We’re extremely grateful for the ideas and suggestions put forward by residents and staff during the recent consultation exercise; we met around 46% of the tenants affected and the feedback we received has been invaluable in shaping our plans going forward.

“It is most unfortunate that we have to make any changes to this valuable service; however, as our future plans are shaped around the feedback from those affected, we’re confident that we’ve managed to retain those elements of the service deemed the most important to individuals. In doing so we have continued to support some of the most vulnerable members of our community at a time when their options for support have been severely reduced by other organisations.”