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Deadline looms on controversial cuts for the vulnerable

Evesham Journal: Brian Hunt, vice-chairman of the Worcestershire Pensioners Action Group, has been a stern critic of any cuts which could affect older people Brian Hunt, vice-chairman of the Worcestershire Pensioners Action Group, has been a stern critic of any cuts which could affect older people


THE deadline is looming for people to have their say over controversial cuts which critics say will hit the most vulnerable people in Worcester hardest.
 

The consultation on how the people of Worcestershire want the budget for prevention and support services to be spent closes in just over a week on Tuesday, January 21.

Concerns have been raised, particularly about the future of the wardens at sheltered housing in Worcester who could be scrapped if Worcester Community Housing (WCH) loses its £630,000 grant from Worcestershire County Council, the body consulting on the cuts.

The family of one family who have a relative (85-year-old Grace Thomas) in Chelmsford Court, Ronkswood, Worcester, say the changes will herald a return to "Dickensian days" while residents at Himbleton House have said they cannot bear to lose the wardens. Some said they would not be alive at all but for the life-saving wardens at WCH. Brian Hunt and Ron Chambers of the Worcestershire Pensioners Action Group have been leading the fight against cuts to the wardens.

The consultation which opened on Tuesday, November 19, seeks views on proposed changes to prevention, early help and other support services for vulnerable adults and housing support for some young people now funded by Worcestershire County Council.

The council needs to save £30million in 2014/15 and then about £25million per year until at least 2016/17.  The council is proposing to slash spending on prevention from £15 million a year to around £6.5million.

The council has had to focus spending in adult services and health on those services where it has a legal duty.

This consultation is part of the council's Future Lives Programme, the council's change programme for adult services and health.

Coun Sheila Blagg, Worcestershire County Council's cabinet member with responsibility for adult social care, said: "We have already received many comments from the public but would welcome any more so that we can get as wide a representation as possible. I would urge everyone to take part in this important consultation before January 21 and I assure you that all views will be listened to.”

The findings of the consultation will be considered by the cabinet members for health and well-being, children and families and adult social care following the consultation closing. A decision and announcement is expected in February.

Further information and the questionnaire is available at worcestershire.gov.uk/futurelives. Residents can also follow the Twitter feed #futurelives or email views, ideas or suggestions to futurelives@worcestershire.gov.uk.

 

Consultation meetings:

(1) Kidderminster Library on Tuesday January 14, 2.30pm-4.30pm (Generic Information)

(2) Malvern Hills District Council Offices on Tuesday January 14, 10am-12 noon (Older People Information)

(3) Evesham Town Hall on Wednesday, January 15, 2pm-4pm (Older People Information)

(4) Wallace House, Evesham on Thursday, January 16, 6pm - 8pm (Generic Information).

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