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March widow calls for return of wardens

General View at Morton Avenue Sheltered Housing Scheme in March ANL-160401-180318009
General View at Morton Avenue Sheltered Housing Scheme in March ANL-160401-180318009

A pensioner who fears that she may die and not be found for days is calling for the return of wardens to sheltered housing complexes in Fenland.

The 70-year-old March woman, who does not wish to be named, says the service offered to pensioners is “not fit for purpose”.

She lives in one of the complexes run by Circle Roddons in March and has spoken out after a man in his 70s was dead for days before his body was discovered by concerned neighbours on December 28.

Wardens have been absent from the complexes for sometime due to a reduction in funding.

But the widow, who has no surviving family, says wardens would give peace of mind to residents, who feel as if they are forgotten.

She said: “You could die in your sleep and nobody would come around looking for days or weeks.

“I could pop my clogs and no-one would phone or know that something was wrong as we don’t get daily calls or checks. We get nothing.

“When we were under the council control, we had scheme managers who took really good care of us.

“I would like them to bring back the scheme managers as this is not working.

“The service has gone downhill.

“It’s not fit for purpose.”

The woman has a pull chord alarm, which is provided by Centra Pulse, but says her neighbour was told off for raising the alarm.

She says she had asked for extra support last year but decided not to go ahead due to non-relevant questions.

The woman said: “I do feel that pensioners are the forgotten part of society, especially people like myself who have no family.”

Cambridgeshire County Council and Centra say: “The council has to find savings of £41m next year and more than £100 million over the next five years.

“This follows savings of £218 million since 2009.

“Our foremost priority has always been to protect the most vulnerable in society, which we remain committed to, despite this reduction in our funding.

“Previously, support was only provided to people living in sheltered housing but the vast majority of older people live in their own homes.

“To ensure that resources were used more effectively, the support service was remodelled so it could be targeted at all older people assessed as needing support to live independently, regardless of where they live, and to target those who need it most.

“All Cambridgeshire residents (including those in Fenland) aged 65 and over have free access to housing related support based on need, regardless of tenure.

“The support is provided to meet specific needs and is time-limited but sheltered tenants of any age are able to receive the support indefinitely.”

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