Residents’ concern over inadequate warden cover

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Residents of Fraserburgh’s Northern Court are concerned that proposed future changes to the provision of sheltered housing will leave them with inadequate warden cover.

Martin Coull, a tenant at the complex told the Herald: “Our main concerns are the cutbacks and proposed changes to our warden service.

“We believe that our current warden cover will be reduced and are extremely concerned that there will be inadequate cover at the complex. There have been so many rumours about these forthcoming changes no-one seems to be sure exactly what is going to happen.”

The review of Aberdeenshire Council’s sheltered housing service was launched in 2009 and according to the report that went before the housing and social work committee last month, a total of 1,500 tenants across Aberdeenshire were consulted on the service as part of this review.

However Mr Coull has grave concerns over about the fairness of the survey, stating: “I have serious concerns about the survey that officials keep referring to. Within the survey there was only one question out of 26 that related directly to the warden service. I have asked the council to conduct another survey regarding the wardens but it has refused to do so.”

The report went on to explain current proposals regarding wardens, stating: ‘groups of mobile sheltered housing officers (wardens) would cover a number of sheltered housing complexes within a geographical area’.

The report said each team would still be available to deliver housing support to tenants between 8.45am and 5pm weekdays and 9am to 1pm at weekends, as at present.

Members of the sheltered housing team will provide both a planned presence in each complex at pre-arranged times of day and, additionally, will respond to unplanned calls for support to tenants during these hours.”

Mr Coull added: “We are all extremely anxious about the forthcoming proposed changes and believe there has been a lack of clear communication from Aberdeenshire Council about these.”

A spokeswoman from Aberdeenshire Council said: “Consultation with tenants has taken place in a number of forms over the last two years with the majority of tenants agreeing with the changes to the service.

“The changes will make sure the service is not only equal across the area but is as efficient as possible while also protecting the service for future generations.

“We appreciate change can cause concern and that is why we will continue to discuss plans with tenants as mobile teams are devised.

“We know our sheltered housing officers will continue to offer an excellent service and personal contact will be maintained by mobile teams.”