Candidates welcome manifesto commitment on Sheltered Housing

editorial image

Ellon & District SNP local election candidates Richard Thomson and Rob Merson have welcomed an SNP manifesto commitment to review the decision to replace full-time sheltered housing officers with mobile teams if the SNP forms an administration in Aberdeenshire after next week’s local government elections.

Removing the previous level of cover has resulted in many complexes losing the full-time ‘warden’ and being covered for only a few hours per day by mobile officers. This has resulted in an inferior service for sheltered housing residents and led to a large number of complaints.

Having less social contact with staff has meant that, in many cases, checks on the welfare of elderly residents are not being carried out until later in the day.

The SNP Council Group identified alternative savings which could have been made in last year’s budget which could have been used to address problems with the level of front-line sheltered housing officer cover across Aberdeenshire.

Ellon & District councillor Rob Merson has been at the forefront of pressing the Council to address these shortcomings, and has assisted sheltered housing resident Martin Coull of Fraserburgh in lodging a complaint with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman on behalf of residents in a number of sheltered housing complexes throughout Aberdeenshire. Commenting on the matter, he said: “I am delighted that my colleagues have recognised the detrimental effect which the imposition of these cuts has had on the wellbeing, safety and security of the residents of Aberdeenshire sheltered housing complexes, and that the SNP Group has committed to address those problems if they are in administration.

“I am already receiving reports of the new system failing to operate, and of residents having been left with no on-site sheltered housing officer cover for days.”

Richard Thomson added: “I was a member of the SNP Manifesto Team which recognised the dissatisfaction and unease that these changes to sheltered housing staffing policy has caused among the residents.

“I was therefore very pleased to be in a position to help make provision for a review of the changes which have caused so much unhappiness and anxiety in a sector of our society which is generally very uncomplaining.”