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CAMPAIGNS: SHELTERED HOUSING DIARY
 
Sheltered housing residents from Barnet protesting against Barnet council's plan to remove wardens from their schemes have a number of important dates coming up. Please get along and support them:

Monday 30 November: demonstrate at 11am outside Conservative party HQ at 30 Millbank; demonstrate 12.15pm outside 10 Downing Street. Supported by GMB and Unison trade unions. Transport is available from Barnet, email
wardens@barnettuc.org.uk for details. David Young, Barnet resident and a key organiser of the demonstrations says:

“We have got to save our Wardens and sheltered housing for the elderly now, and for our children in the future. The alternative will be to stay at home with your family if you have one, or move into a care home. The party leaders must give us a yes or no answer.  In fact, while I am in the area I am also going to drop a letter into Nick Clegg. I’m sure he will be interested in our votes. To all political parties, we say: No Wardens, No Votes!”

Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3 December
: demonstrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice, the Strand, when Barnet sheltered housing residents have their case against Barnet council heard. More details to follow.

Monday 7 December: national protest for sheltered housing. Assemble: 3pm, Trafalgar Square, march to Downing Street to hand in the national petition at 4pm. Organised by
Sheltered Housing UK.

Sheltered housing campaign

 
REPORT: Sheltered housing national demonstration, Wednesday 22 July

The demonstration was organised by Kingsley Court Strategy Committee's David Young, supported by Sheltered Housing UK, and well attended by Barnet residents from several schemes - in spite of the difficulty of getting to and around Parliament Square! We assembled, were photographed, filmed and interviewed, then marched around the square, and up Whitehall to Downing Street. A delegation, led by broadcaster Joan Bakewell, went to hand a letter to the Prime Minister calling on him to intervene to save sheltered housing. The gist of that message is:
“Pensioners from sheltered housing schemes throughout England demand the Government reverse their policy on sheltered housing, so councils will reinstate sheltered wardens. The Government says they can’t intervene, because this is a local  government  issue.  We have come from across the nation and are all affected — this is a national issue! Take responsibility for once Gordon, and sort it out.”
Download press release here. More campaigning events will follow.
To receive notification, email wardens@barnettuc.org.uk

Below: pictures from a march in Northampton on Wednesday 8 July and report from the Northampton Chronicle. Don't think that these people are marching against a threat to cut the wardens: that happened long ago! No, they are marching against the inadequacy of the floating support service that has replaced wardens... Thanks to Teddy Mcnabb for the pictures.

An episode of "Panorama" covering the sheltered housing issue, including footage taken in Barnet during our campaign to stop the council cutting the sheltered housing wardens, is due to be broadcast in early August.

 
 

Barnet's sheltered housing warden cuts: don't mourn, organise!

REPORT: Lobby of Barnet council and Cabinet meeting, Monday 8 June

Barnet Community Campaign and Barnet trade unions organised a lively lobby of the council on Monday 8 June. Around 200 sheltered housing residents and their supporters chanted and listened to speeches outside Barnet House. Then they went into the public gallery and overspill room to watch the Cabinet meeting that took the regrettable decision to cut £400,000 from the budget for the elderly. While the Cabinet agreed to retain the alarm system for all sheltered housing scheme residents, they cut the sheltered housing wardens, to replace them with a vaguely specified 'floating support' service operating out of 'hubs' around the borough, perhaps some of the existing schemes. The floating support staff (vastly fewer in number than the 52 wardens currently employed), in theory, will also serve elderly Barnet residents who do not live in sheltered housing.

Several Barnet residents spoke on the issue, through the facility to put questions to the Cabinet, and challenged the idea that sheltered housing residents are depriving other elderly residents of services: they argued for a levelling up of services for all, and expressed the view that Cabinet members still do not understand the value of the warden service, since they have ignored all invitations to come and meet residents.

At the end of the meeting David Young, resident of Kingsley Court scheme, presented the first document to the council in a legal challenge to the decision: if any resident would like to know more about the legal challenge, they could email the lawyer Yvonne Hossack who is acting for residents in a number of the schemes:
hossacks@hossacks.plus.com

Coverage of the lobby and the legal challenge: Hendon Times; BBC London news

Video interviews with residents: http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/?q=node/282

To contact the campaign: wardens@barnettuc.org.uk

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REPORT: Tuesday 19 May: lobby of the Council, Hendon Town Hall
The occasion was Barnet council's annual general meeting, an invitation only event which featured the swearing in of Brian Coleman GLA as the new mayor. A delegation of residents presented a petition to Barnet's current mayor, John Marshall, calling for the council to drop its plans to cut sheltered housing wardens. Outside on the freshly laid lawn, and carefully avoiding the newly planted flower beds, around 70 sheltered housing residents, relatives and supporters protested, loud and lively, until 7pm when the council meeting began. Hendon Times report of this successful protest here; Barnet Press report and a lovely picture here.

* Read how Brighton and Hove saved their warden schemes:
'We love wardens'.
* Email your councillor - find their details here:
Barnet councillors
* Read the original consultation document here: www.barnet.gov.uk/index/council-democracy/consultations/sheltered-housing-consultation.htm
* Read a report of a consultation meeting held at one of the affected schemes here: http://vickim57.blogspot.com
* Sign the petition initiated by Barnet residents - this is a nationwide issue: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/sheltered/

REPORT: Saturday 9 May, Barnet wardens march, Finchley Central to Victoria Park

150 people marched through part of Barnet council leader Mike Freer's ward - a good turnout given the short time we had to publicise the march. They came from different sheltered housing schemes and included scheme residents and their relatives and friends plus supporters from Barnet and Brent trades councils. We distributed leaflets to the public explaining what the march was about and giving the dates for the next steps in our mobilisation to save wardens in Barnet - had there been a national debate about this issue, surely none of these cuts would be going through!

The march was organised by Barnet Community Campaign, website:
http://barnetcc.wordpress.com/.

Read Hendon Times coverage of the march 
here. Barnet and the march are also covered in Inside Housing here.