‘Astonishment’ over Norfolk’s housing with care vacancies

Norfolk County Councillor Shelagh Gurney, who said she was "astonished" there were so many vacancies

Norfolk County Councillor Shelagh Gurney, who said she was "astonished" there were so many vacancies in the county's housing with care schemes. - Credit: Supplied

Questions have been asked over why more than 40 places in Norfolk's housing with care schemes, stood empty, when demand for services is increasing.

Members of Norfolk County Council's adult social care committee were shocked to be told there were 44 vacancies at the county's 15 housing with care schemes, the bulk of which are staffed by Norfolk County Council-owned Norse Care.

Shelagh Gurney, Conservative county councillor for Hellesdon, said: 'I am astonished to hear we have so many empty units at the housing with care schemes in Norfolk.

'My experience is that there are people who struggle with their own care and do not apply because they do not think they are eligible. What is this council doing to fill these vacancies?'

And Harold Bodmer, director of community services. acknowledged with some of the schemes, such as at Laburnum Grove in Thetford, the council was 'struggling' to find people who wanted to use the service. A number of those units have baths, rather than showers.

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Councillors asked for a list of the vacancies. Following the meeting, the council produced one which showed the situation had improve, with the number of empty units down to 11.

Janice Dane, assistant director for prevention and transformation in Norfolk County Council's community services department, said: 'Because people's care needs change, sometimes over time but also sometimes suddenly, vacancies in Norfolk's housing with care schemes fluctuate from week to week.

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'However when there are more empty units than usual, such as recently, we do tackle this by working with our social work teams, district councils and housing associations to try to understand the reasons why and ensure people are being referred.'

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