“Our sheltered housing schemes are wonderful,” says councillor

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The councillor leading the consultation about city sheltered housing facilities admitted this week: “We hate making cuts.”

Nigel Long has been visiting OAPS in sheltered bungalows all over MK over the past few weeks. And he described all the schemes as “wonderful.”

Many elderly residents were distressed about the council’s original plan to save cash by scrapping wardens. Their reaction caused the Labour administration to carry out a complete U turn.

But central government budget cuts still undermine the council’s long term aim of keeping the elderly happy, said Nigel.

“We are trying to manage the worst impact of the cuts and are looking at new ways to develop services. In particular we want to find ways to prevent ill health and promote independence for older and disabled people.

“We need to do things differently to cope with less money,” he said.

Labour is now establishing an Independent Living Services Review to “focus resources” on independence, greater choice and more control for older and disabled people together with their families and carers.

“We are also starting work on providing all our care services through a co-operative delivery model, where the service users, the staff, carers and families have a share in the new organisation,” said Nigel, who is pictured with residents of Hungerford House on Emerson Valley.

He also spoke to residents at Kitchener day centre in Olney about their fears of closure.

He said: “I have made it clear at a budget scrutiny committee that I will not be taking forward any proposals to close this highly valued centre.”

Instead, he said, it is hoped the council can develop the Kitchener centre as a hub for older and disabled people.

This could perhaps be linked to future proposals to develop a new GP centre.

“We need to do things differently to cope with less money. With Kitchener and other potential developments we have an opportunity to develop services for Olney and the wider rural area,” said Nigel.”This is about real people and real lives...The Labour-led council hates making cuts. But we cannot avoid them, despite living in one of the richest countries in the world.

“We are trying to find ways of managing the damage - and we need people’s help to do that.”