Lincolnshire welfare changes ‘could benefit more people’

Lincolnshire County Council
Lincolnshire County Council
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All vulnerable adults and not just people in sheltered housing will benefit from changes to welfare services, officials claim.

Fears have been raised that 24-hour warden cover at elderly people’s sheltered accommodation could be cut in April next year when Lincolnshire County Council changes its supported living contract, moving from several providers to only one.

South Kesteven District Council, which currently supplies services including sheltered housing wardens with funding from the county council, said staff would transfer into the newly formed Wellbeing service which will cater for more people than the current system.

The district council’s head of housing and neighbourhoods, Ian Richardson said: “We expect that those staff currently providing housing-related support services will transfer to the provider of the county council’s new Wellbeing service and we will work closely with the provider to assist a smooth transition to the new service.

“Additionally, we are currently reviewing what the implications of this change will be for our continuing role as the landlord of those of our tenants who will be affected by the change, so as to ensure we are able to deliver the best possible housing services in the future.”

A total of 1,132 residents receive support in South Kesteven. About 450 pensioners live in sheltered housing in Stamford, Bourne and the Deepings.

There are eight complexes in Stamford, four in Bourne and four in The Deepings. Seven wardens are provided, backed by 24-hour mobile teams operating from Stamford.

At present 22 mobile wardens cover the South Kesteven area.

County council assistant director of public health Tony McGinty, said: “The county council is developing a new Wellbeing Service that will be available to all vulnerable adults in the county from next April, designed to keep people safe in their own homes, regardless of whose housing they live in.

“Currently many services are only available to those in sheltered or supported housing, and this will be extended to those who live in privately owned or 
rented accommodation.

“People who are currently in sheltered housing will continue to be important customers of the new 
service.

“All vulnerable adults who need support at home will be eligible, though we anticipate the majority to be within the older age category due to the demographics within Lincolnshire.

“The new service will include things like minor home adaptations such as installing grab rails and ramps, as well as monitoring technology and support.

“A key part of the new service will also be the provision of a 24 hour emergency call-out service, seven days a week, to those who need it.

“The Wellbeing service assessment will not purely look at physical condition and the capacity to look after themselves, it is wider including social wellbeing, isolation and assistance with accessing the correct 
benefits.

“The assessment and a period of short-term intervention is free to everyone.”

A spokesman for the district council said service users would be kept informed of any changes leading up to the April 1 deadline.