Warden protests mar Barnet mayoral celebrations

"Angry": sheltered housing residents waved placards for an hour outside Hendon town hall

First published in News by

ANGRY protesters disrupted Barnet Council’s mayoral ceremony last night as they campained to keep sheltered housing wardens.

About 60 elderly residents and supporters greeted the new Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Brian Coleman, with placards and slogans as he arrived to take his oath of office at Hendon Town Hall, in The Burroughs, at 6.30pm.

Police officers supervised the demonstration as campaigners gave their 1,500-signature petition to outgoing mayor John Marshall before the handover ceremony.

They were kept out of the invite-only council meeting by private security guards.

Vicky Morris, 44, from Fulbeck Drive, Colindale, organised the protest. She said: “I hope it had an impact. I think the councillors can now be in no doubt about our feelings on the issue.

“They were expecting to turn up to a formal occasion and were greeted with a lot of angry people.

“It was mainly residents protesting, which in one sense is a good thing, as they are having their voices heard, but on the other hand is a shame as these old people are being forced to march and wave placards themselves.

“But whatever decision is made in June, we will carry on fighting.”

Under the plans, residents in Barnet’s 52 sheltered housing schemes would lose the people who help them with day-to-day activities and raise the alarm during an emergency.

The service would be replaced with “floating” wardens who visit residents with specific needs.

Iris Howlett, 57, from Addison Way, Temple Fortune, accompanied six residents, aged between 70 and 94, to present the petition to Mr Marshall.

She said: “We have attended various council surgeries to discuss this matter, but none of the councillors seem to know what they are voting for.

“We are a democratic society and hopefully our demonstration will convince them to take an hour out of their time to read up about the issue.

“The mayor said he would read through the proposals again and get in contact with his colleagues, so we are hoping this will not be in vain.”

The council hopes to save £950,000 from the cuts, which it has vowed to put towards services for elderly and vulnerable people who do not live in sheltered housing.

Lynne Hillan, cabinet member for community services, said: “We have to think of everyone. Obviously people in sheltered housing are extremely important to us, but there are a lot of extremely important people living in the borough who we also need to provide for.”

Barnet cabinet will vote on the issue at a meeting on June 8.

Comments (3)

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7:54am Thu 21 May 09

vernony says...

Well done Barnet residents. If the Barnet council wish to extend care further into the community then that is a new project and it requires new money to fund it. What is proposed here is that Sheltered residents will be forced to lose their Wardens to pay for it. Effectively Sheltered housing without a Warden ceases to be Sheltered housing and becomes no different from any other OAP dwelling that is fitted with an alarm system. Leaving the name 'Sheltered Housing' over the door or simply calling it Sheltered Housing, does not make it so !

Vernon Yarker
Chairman
The Sheltered Housing UK Association
Well done Barnet residents. If the Barnet council wish to extend care further into the community then that is a new project and it requires new money to fund it. What is proposed here is that Sheltered residents will be forced to lose their Wardens to pay for it. Effectively Sheltered housing without a Warden ceases to be Sheltered housing and becomes no different from any other OAP dwelling that is fitted with an alarm system. Leaving the name 'Sheltered Housing' over the door or simply calling it Sheltered Housing, does not make it so ! Vernon Yarker Chairman The Sheltered Housing UK Association vernony
  • Score: 0

11:14am Fri 22 May 09

Rog T says...

I disagree that the protests "Marred" the ceremony. I think they showed that there are honourable caring people in Barnet. I'd say that they were the best thing about the inauguration.
I disagree that the protests "Marred" the ceremony. I think they showed that there are honourable caring people in Barnet. I'd say that they were the best thing about the inauguration. Rog T
  • Score: 0

2:54pm Sat 23 May 09

vickim says...

I don't know why the council says they are going to put the money cut from warden services toward other services for the elderly. What is proposed is a cut, pure and simple: £950,000 from services for the elderly.

A good document to read to understand the overall situation is on the Barnet council website: http://www.barnet.go
v.uk/barnet-council-
budget-consultation0
910.pdf. Check 'Adult Social Services', p7-10. It clearly shows efficiencies/budget increases/budget reductions. The sheltered housing cut comes under budget reductions, and there is no increase shown in elderly services under budget increases.

However, there is no need to despair: they have made provision in the budget, related to the lower than expected inflation rate, for what they will do if they decide not to make this cut. That's right, they don't have to make this cut at all if they choose! I hope they see sense and decide not to.

If you want to help us campaign to keep the wardens, get in touch via email: wardens@barnettuc.or
g.uk.

Vicki Morris
Barnet Community Campaign
I don't know why the council says they are going to put the money cut from warden services toward other services for the elderly. What is proposed is a cut, pure and simple: £950,000 from services for the elderly. A good document to read to understand the overall situation is on the Barnet council website: http://www.barnet.go v.uk/barnet-council- budget-consultation0 910.pdf. Check 'Adult Social Services', p7-10. It clearly shows efficiencies/budget increases/budget reductions. The sheltered housing cut comes under budget reductions, and there is no increase shown in elderly services under budget increases. However, there is no need to despair: they have made provision in the budget, related to the lower than expected inflation rate, for what they will do if they decide not to make this cut. That's right, they don't have to make this cut at all if they choose! I hope they see sense and decide not to. If you want to help us campaign to keep the wardens, get in touch via email: wardens@barnettuc.or g.uk. Vicki Morris Barnet Community Campaign vickim
  • Score: 0

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