County gives way on warden cuts

THREAT LIFTED: Sheltered housing residents Geraldine Whitmore, Olive and Gordon Arnold, Michael Smith and Ida Kind. SG030913-445NG
THREAT LIFTED: Sheltered housing residents Geraldine Whitmore, Olive and Gordon Arnold, Michael Smith and Ida Kind. SG030913-445NG
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The threat of wardens being axed from South Holland’s sheltered housing complexes appears to have been lifted for now.

South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes – and residents who describe the wardens as their “lifeline” – met a senior official from Lincolnshire County Council, which funds the service, on Friday.

Residents feared they would lose the wardens when the county council’s contract with the district council ends in October and they would be left only with an electronic monitoring/phone service to Grantham instead.

Mr Hayes said it appears likely the wardens, who are employed by South Holland District Council, will be able to continue until the spring and there will be a transition period before any new arrangements come in.

But Mr Hayes said he would have to discuss matters further with district council leader Gary Porter to see what his view is.

The MP said: “It was a very civilised meeting but I didn’t pull any punches.

“There’s complete agreement between me and the residents. I think the county council heard that and recognised they were dealing with a very determined set of residents and a very determined MP.

“I was able to make a very strong case that we want a warden based system which is sufficient to maintain the trust of local people, guarantee their safety and security, and provide a personal, familiar and intimate service.

“People’s wellbeing depends on them trusting people that they know to provide them with care.”

Disabled pensioner Michael Smith, of Spalding’s Cedar Court, was one of the sheltered housing residents at the meeting with Mr Hayes and the county’s assistant director of public health, Tony McGinty.

Mr Smith said: “We have won our case. We are keeping our wardens until the end of the financial year.”

l Coun Porter was not available when we tried to contact him to ask about the future of the warden service.