St Leonards residents’ campaign to keep support workers

Residents at Beaufort Court
Residents at Beaufort Court

Elderly and frail residents at a sheltered housing scheme intend to launch a campaign to fight to keep their two support workers.

East Sussex County Council is looking to make huge savings of £40m over the next three years by slashing its adult social care budget.

Around 70 residents at Beaufort Court, in Beaufort Road, St Leonards, held a meeting on Wednesday (November 11) to discuss ways of launching a campaign, setting up a petition and writing to Hastings MP Amber Rudd.

Ernie Ballard, who chaired Wednesday’s meeting, said: “We should not allow both our support workers to end up being kicked down to the job centre just to save a few bob for the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

“The county council has been told it has to save a massive amount of money and it will be at the expense of ourselves.

“There are people here who have no families, some are bedridden and the only contact they have with the outside world is with our support workers.

“We’ve all got to show commitment and demonstrate that we’re not going to be mucked about.”

Resident John Isted suggested holding a protest outside with placards to hammer home the message that Beaufort Court’s support worker service should stay.

Audrey Clark suggested placing posters in the shops around Silverhill, as well as a petition the public could sign.

Elsie Freeman, 78, who has lived in Beaufort Court for nine weeks, said: “I suffer from hypertension and panic attacks and had one last week. If it hadn’t been for Katie, our support worker, helping me who knows what would’ve happened. Both our support workers here are life savers. If they go I don’t know what I’ll do.”

Lily Martin, aged 101, said: “I’ve been taken ill two times recently and was in hospital for seven weeks.

“I was so thankful to Katie and Tina, our support workers, as they got in touch with my family and helped me through.

“It’s very worrying for us and it’s vital for everyone here that they stay. They’re great.”

Bill Stretton, 80, said: “If we lose both girls there will be no cover here.

“They do a lovely job and really look after us. They organise all of our social events.”

Olive Burgess, 93, said: “I’m losing my sight and rely on the support more than ever.

“We just want security and peace of mind. We’re all very down-hearted at the moment.”

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