Cox denounces 'floating support' scheme for elderly

GEOFFREY Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, supported a rally at the Houses of Parliament by elderly residents of sheltered accommodation who were  protesting against the withdrawal of resident wardens from their homes. The MP has previously expressed

GEOFFREY Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, supported a rally at the Houses of Parliament by elderly residents of sheltered accommodation who were protesting against the withdrawal of resident wardens from their homes.

The MP has previously expressed concern that, as a result of the current funding system for those living in sheltered housing, consistent help and support from wardens within sheltered housing is being phased out and replaced with non-resident "roving wardens" called "floating support".

The MP believes that, in many cases, permanent resident wardens are necessary to give elderly and vulnerable people the security they need.

The government introduced its "Supporting People" policy in 2003, which meant that funding was separated between funding for "Housing Support", and funding for "Housing Management Services".


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As a result the role of sheltered housing wardens, who provide both management and support, has become confused. Housing support funds were reduced, leading to the phasing out of wardens, and a dependence on "floating support". Housing providers are then left to deliver management services separately.

However, according to the charities Age Concern and Help the Aged, the roles between the services have not always been clearly defined, resulting in an overlap of responsibilities and a lack of care. The MP has received numerous letters from worried residents and relatives in Torridge and West Devon.

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Mr Cox said: "According to Sheltered Housing UK, floating support is certainly not the same thing as a warden; they do not visit people in sheltered housing unless 'on their list'. Once a problem is rectified, that person is taken off the list, and the floating support floats away".

Mr Cox continued: "I feel very strongly that the proposed floating support scheme will simply not meet the needs of many of the elderly living in sheltered housing and could result in a serious detrimental effect on the welfare of residents. When Parliament comes back from its summer recess I shall request an urgent debate on this important issue and urge the Government to review the policy.

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