‘Climate of fear’ for elderly over future of Gloucestershire sheltered housing, says Unite

A Gloucestershire district council has been urged to come clean about the future of its sheltered housing accommodation as the current uncertainty is causing ‘a climate of fear’ for elderly residents.

Unite, the country’s largest union, said that proposals by Stroud district council to sell off six of its 29 sheltered housing sites affecting more than 250 residents, many over 70 years old, is causing unnecessary worry and concern.

The union said that the cash-strapped council had indicated that the sale of the sites would be for general, and not sheltered housing, and the union feared that this would be the ‘thin end of the wedge’, with the possibility of many more elderly residents being adversely affected.

Unite community coordinator for the south west, Brett Sparkes said:

“While there is no prospect of these elderly residents being thrown out on to the street, there is every chance that that they will be moved away from their family and friends – and this should be strongly deplored.

“We believe this is the thin end of the wedge, creating a climate of fear, coupled with the fact that the number of sheltered housing officers living on site has been cut back.

“We need the council to come clean on what’s happening as the residents have been kept in the dark. One criteria of a civilised society is how you treat your elderly – Stroud councillors need to take note of that.”

Unite has linked up with the charity SAVEDusap, which represents sheltered housing residents in Gloucestershire, to help residents by training them in public speaking, social media publicity, as well as giving much needed advice as to their rights.

SAVEDusap will now seek associations with other similar groups throughout the UK, as the problems in Gloucestershire are being replicated nationally.