Funding cuts to emergency pull cord system at sheltered housing schemes in north Norfolk could ‘put lives at risk’

One of the schemes affected. Saxon Court, a sheltered housing complex in North Walsham, owned by Vic

One of the schemes affected. Saxon Court, a sheltered housing complex in North Walsham, owned by Victory Housing Trust. Picture: ALEX HURRELL - Credit: Archant

Campaigners say that plans to cut the emergency pull cord service at sheltered housing schemes across north Norfolk could 'put lives at risk'.

Eric Seward is fighting to reverse the decision. Picture: Liberal Democrats.

Eric Seward is fighting to reverse the decision. Picture: Liberal Democrats. - Credit: Liberal Democrats

Norfolk County Council plans to withdraw the £160,000 funding it provides for Centra Care and Support for the service from next February.

It would affect hundreds of elderly people living at Victory Housing Trust schemes across the region

Eric Seward, county councillor for North Walsham East ward, said: 'If people get injured or fall ill they can pull the cord, which goes straight through to an emergency number, and they get immediate help. It helps keep them in their own flats and homes.

'We need to fight to get the plans reversed as it's contrary to the county council's own policy of helping elderly people stay in their homes. We need to review this particular cut.'


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North Walsham Town Council also plans to write to Norfolk County Council in objection to the plans,

Town councillor Peter Edge said: 'This will put people's lives at risk.'

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A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: 'We have ceased funding sheltered housing support, so that we can increase our investment in prevention services, which support more people to live independent lives.

'All but two of Norfolk's sheltered housing providers have introduced and funded their own services, since the county council withdrew funding.

'Overall, the county council continues to increase spending on helping support older people to live independently in their own homes. At a time when the council has to save £125m over four years, we have to target our spending where we it can have the most benefit.'

A Centra spokesman said: 'Centra is currently contracted to provide a 24/7 remote monitoring service to sheltered housing residents in schemes managed by Victory Housing Trust. Following cuts made by Norfolk County Council, the council made the decision to stop the funding and end the Centra contract, which will finish on February 28, 2018.'.

John Archibald, chief executive of Victory Housing, said Centra had made a discounted offer to residents for the alarm system, the details of which it was passing on.

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