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Residents to fight warden proposals

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 22, 2014

By Mike Smallcombe

  • CONTROVERSY: Residents are furious about Cornwall Housing plans to change the system at Bederkesa Court. From left, residents Yvonne Davies, Pauline Flynn, Mary Fisher, Ray Rodgers and Ron Holland, plus John Phillips.

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ELDERLY residents living in a sheltered housing complex could lose their on-site warden service and share communal areas with non-residents under controversial plans outlined by the company which runs the home.

Due to Cornwall Council cuts, the company which runs Bederkesa Court – Cornwall Housing Ltd, which is owned by the authority – plans to change the current system from a single daily resident warden to a team of six on-call wardens.

Cornwall Housing Ltd, which first met with residents in October last year and outlined its proposals at a further meeting two weeks ago, also plans to open up communal areas such as the kitchen, lounge and gardens, allowing non-residents access to the facilities.

Last week representations were made by residents to Bodmin town councillors in an attempt to gather support in their fight against the plans.

Resident Pauline Flynn told councillors: "Opening up the communal areas will seriously undermine the security of Bederkesa and, with no one on site to monitor who is coming and going, it will leave vulnerable people at great risk.

"For instance, who will take responsibility if a non-resident decides to stay the night in the lounge or worse still to invite some of his friends to a party? Will the elderly residents be expected to ask them to leave? This plan is totally unrealistic.

"The lives of ageing people will change dramatically, all in the name of progress."

John Phillips, whose grandmother lives on site, said his main issue is the lack of consultation on Cornwall Housing's behalf.

He said: "They are not being clear, honest or direct; there hasn't been any consultation and effectively they have said 'this is the only option because of funding, end of' – without any communication with residents."

Les Shattock's 94-year-old mother lives in the home and he described the plans as "second class".

"My mother had to go to hospital once after collapsing and we had her there within the hour because of the on-site warden. I do not see it happening if you have got to get someone coming in from Padstow or St Austell.

"I've also experienced the sort of cover given if the warden is absent on leave. Recently my mother should have been visited eight times in a certain time period but was visited three times."

Residents and their families are hoping to organise a protest march through Bodmin and set up a petition.

However, despite telling residents of these plans, Cornwall Council said that there are no "imminent" plans to change support arrangements at the home.

"Cornwall Housing is restructuring the Independent Living Service element of Cornwall Housing Ltd due to changes in funding and contract arrangements, but there are no imminent plans to change support arrangements at any Category 2 sheltered housing scheme, which includes Bederkesa Court," the council said.

"Cornwall Housing has attended two residents' meetings at Bederkesa Court where residents were assured that the support officer who currently works there will remain in place."

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