Sunday, 12 April 2009

We ♥ wardens in Barnet too

When I heard about Barnet council's plan to axe sheltered housing wardens, I thought it was a local issue. I thought, 'how would I feel if my 96-year-old grandmother's warden service were ended?', and took my cue from that. I'd be livid, I thought. I'd fight it tooth and nail. Now, my grandmother lives in Hyde, Greater Manchester, not in Barnet, but, I thought, that won't stop me fighting for the elderly residents of Barnet.

As it turns out, my 96-year-old grandmother's warden service is being axed. And it's happening all over. Inside Housing magazine estimates that
Three-quarters of councils have reduced warden services or are considering [reductions]...
Mature Times explains the trend:
Historically, the Warden system has worked very well financially for decades. For residents receiving Housing Benefit the pro rata costs of the Wardens salary was paid from within their allowance, and self- funded residents paid the housing provider for a Warden facility through service charges.

Then in 2003 the Government ceased funding Wardens in this way and passed the money to local organisations, usually councils, and named these organisations 'Supporting People'. They took over the local funding and care provision, and sheltered housing was moved from General Needs housing into their care umbrella.
The government and the Labour Party nationally appear comfortable with what is happening. To their credit, however, local Labour politicians are opposing the cuts, and belatedly there is a coordinated, national effort to save warden services, the Sheltered Housing Association.

To inspire us further, Inside Housing reports the successful campaign to save wardens in Brighton, under the banner 'We ♥ wardens'. Let's try and repeat their achievement in Barnet!


Rog T said...


I suspect that the best we can hope for at the next election is a lib/lab pact. Hopefully the lib aspect might actually impose some common sense because right now it seems to me that Labour hasn't got much at a National level

Don't Call Me Dave said...

I don’t believe a Labour administration would do things differently. Remember how Labour campaigned against the proposed closure of Edgware General Hospital in 2007? Remember what happened when Labour came to power?

The only people who can stop the warden cuts are we, the people. We have to keep making the case against scrapping the service until the politicians see sense.