Nearly 100 elderly and disabled residents to lose York garden care help

The York Council has gone through today with its threat to cease the hedge and grass cutting service provided for many elderly and disabled people in the City

As we forecast, the Council is hoping to save £46,000 a year expenditure on its housing revenue account (HRA).

The HRA currently has a surplus of over £23 million and made £4.3m profit last year

The garden assistance scheme is available to tenants aged over 70 who are physically unable to cut the hedges and grass in their gardens.

The hedges are cut twice a year and the grass on 7 occasions.

409 tenants received the service in 2016.

365 received the service in 2017 following a tightening of the criteria for qualification.

It is thought that the new scheme involving use of the “handyman service” could cater for up to 306 elderly people.

The rest would not be given help. A waiting list might have to be established.

The service will in future be means rested.

The cut has been agreed by a Tory Councillor without any consultation with local Resident Associations or the citywide Tenants Federation.

 

 

York praised for improvements in adult social care outcomes

Data released by NHS England has shown significant improvements in the performance rating of adult social care outcomes in York in the past year.

York is now ranked as 42nd of the 152 local authorities in England, a rise of 81 places from last year when the city was ranked 123rd, with York the most improved nationally.

York was considered a top performer in areas including:

  • Social care quality of life
  • People getting self-directed support
  • Carer-reported quality of life
  • Social care users having as much contact as they would like
  • Carers having as much contact as they would like
  • Carers reporting that they involved in discussions about those cared-for
  • Carers finding it easy to find information and advice
  • Social care users feeling safe and secure as a result of services provided

The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework report also suggested areas for further improvements including direct payments and people being offered reablement services after leaving hospital.

Councillor Carol Runciman, executive member for health and adult social care said: “It is pleasing that these figures have acknowledged the considerable work done over the past year to improve adult social care outcomes for our residents.

“Whilst these figures are positive we still recognise there is more to be done, but the news shows that we are heading in the right direction.

“Thanks to all our incredible staff and support from partners, who have worked hard to make this progress possible.”

“Stay away” Tory leads to defeat on Willow House development

Willow House

The local Council Tory Leadership suffered a defeat this evening when their plan ot sell off land at Willow House was referred back for further consideration.

It is understood that one Conservative councillor absented himself from the meeting without appointing a substitute. (He was apparently elsewhere in West Offices when the meeting was taking place)

The result was that a vote on a “call in” was tied and the Labour chair used his casting vote to stall the development.

There are likely to be repercussions for the Council as the sale of the former elderly persons home site for development was needed to fund new elderly care homes.

The main concern apparently centred around an area of open space next to the home which would have been developed for the first time. Locals say that it is used for informal recreational activity.

There are several other controversial plans in the pipeline which would see similar open spaces developed. In the Acomb ward the development of the old Manor school playing field has been criticised while there is also a major campaign to save threatened open space at Lowfields.

The called in decision will now be referred back to the Executive who will have to decide whether to re-advertise the site for sale and, if so,  with what conditions. Further delays to the care programme seem inevitable.

The disagreement within the Tories is the latest in signs of unrest with Council Leader David Carr heavily criticised  since unilaterally sacking two executive members and later resisting publication of a report into contractor appointments.

Other projects such as the, Tory backed, shipping container village on Piccadilly and arrangements to sign the final Community Stadium contract are also mired in controversy.

“Good Gym” getting rave reviews for their new service which helps older people

The “Good Gym” people who have helped out a lot in Foxwood getting local green areas cleaned up, are now getting rave reviews for a new service.

They aim to help older people with tasks which are beyond their physical capacities.

Check out their web site here https://www.goodgym.org/request-a-mission

click to go to the Good Gym site

Willow House elderly persons home site goes for student lets

The York Council is set to pocket nearly £3 million when it sells the site for a new 126 bed student accommodation.

Most of the bids for the site were for student housing although one developer wanted to build a care home on the site which is next to Walmgate and has views of the city walls.

The bids are revealed in a report to a Council Executive meeting

Willow House had 34 beds for elderly people and closed at the beginning of the year.

The Council says it is expecting student numbers in the city to increase by over 4000 during the next 10 years.

Windsor House to close

Shock as Ascot Way elderly persons home faces early axe

The media are claiming today that Windsor House will be the next home to be closed by the City of York Council.

Although the closure is not unexpected, it had been anticipated that the home would remain open until alternative facilities were provided in the Acomb area.

Originally the plan had been to offer residents places at a brand-new care village which was to have been built on the former Lowfields school site. That project is running 5 years behind schedule and does not yet even have planning permission.

Another option – to replace the facility on the Oakhaven site – also is running behind schedule.

The Council is putting most of its effort and money into the east of the city. The sale of the Windsor House site – and parcels of land at Lowfields – will be used to finance a big home and leisure complex at Burnholme.

Windsor House residents, and their relatives, are likely to be very angry if places cannot be provided in Acomb to ensure that links with families and friends are sustained.

Some of the 34 members of staff at the home may face redundancy although, as there is a chronic shortage of care staff in the City, most will have a choice of alternative jobs should they choose to remain in the sector.

The closure would mean that the last Council run elderly persons home in the Westfield Ward would close. There is a private home on Gale Lane.

The sheltered accommodation at places like Gale Farm and Lincoln Court are not directly affected by the decision.

York makes safeguarding everybody’s business

Helping everybody understand that safeguarding is their business is a line-up of events from the York partners joining in national Safeguarding Week from 9-13 October.

The Safeguarding Boards for Adults and Children and Safer York Partnership along with partners such as City of York Council, York Hospital, CVS, domestic abuse experts IDAS, North Yorkshire Police and The Retreat have published a programme of activities and seminars to help put the safeguarding of children and adults firmly at the fore of residents’ and professionals’ minds.

Mindfulness courses and ‘Confident parent, confident child’ and ‘Fit food, fit kids’ classes from York Learning are available from the council and will be promoted during the week.

  • The NHS Trust’s children and adult safeguarding teams will be on hand at York Hospital throughout the week to chat and meet visitors’, staff and patients alike.
  • Two introductory courses on safeguarding adults, plus a chance to ask questions on adults at risk, will take place on 11 October at the Gateway Centre, Front Street, Acomb, and on 13 October at Tang Hall Community Centre from 2-4:30pm. Please book a place with Penny.hutchinson@york.gov.uk
  • Nelli’s Cafe at New Earswick Methodist Church will host a drop-in question and answer session with the chair of the Safeguarding Adults Board Kevin McAleese on 11 October from 10am-12noon.
  • Come and chat about the ‘Strength and Wellbeing’ display in North Yorkshire Police’s mobile depot in Parliament Street on 11 October – when council staff will join them – and on 13 October from 9am-4pm.
  • IDAS will run a workshop on healthy relationships for practitioners working with children and adults on 11 October.
  • On the same day York CVS will run a seminar on the lasting effects of grooming which is open for workers in the voluntary sector, before holding its first ever parents’ forum run by its nursery team.
  • The Retreat is offering adult social services practitioners a seminar on safeguarding covering positive risk taking, partnership working and promoting positive wellbeing.

Among the social media activities by partners will be signposting services such as social prescribing which can support strength and wellbeing.

The full programme of events for Safeguarding Week is at: www.safeguardingadultsyork.org.uk
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Delays in building Oakhaven care home replacement.

The Council are saying that the opening of the replacement for the Oakhaven care home on York Road will be delayed until the end of 2019 “at the earliest”.

The existing home was closed in 2015 and most recently was used as a homeless hostel.

Bed availability trends

A Council report reveals that there will still be a shortfall in residential care places for the elderly of 654 by 2020. This is slightly down on the inherited shortfall of 701.

“Extra Care” facilities – like those planned for Oakhaven – should reduce the excess of demand over supply from 330 to 9 by 2020.

The number of care beds available has remained fairly level over recent years while the number of delayed discharges from hospital (so called “bed blocking”) remains high as the winter approaches.

The report blames the Councils “partner” for the delays at Oakhaven.

“The delivery of this scheme is running later than originally planned as this procurement was launched later than anticipated due to lengthier examination of the procurement and legal options associated with the plan.

Further delays have occurred as Ashley House develop their design.

At present, we would expect completion of the building, subject to grant of planning permission, in Q3 2019 at the earliest”.

On the Lowfields Plans the report says,

“Plans for the development of a care home, health hub, homes (including bungalows and apartments for the over 55s) and public open space at Lowfield Green, in their final draft form, were the subject of further public engagement in July.

Engagement has shown support for the proposed development.

Lowfields school site is overgrown

However, there is strong objection to the development from the Save Lowfields Playing Field Action Group.

We will be ready to submit the planning application for this proposed development in September 2017.

Later in the autumn Executive will be asked to decide if we are to build the new homes ourselves or sell the land so that another developer can do so”.

NB. Opposition to the development at Lowfields centres around the houses planned for the playing field. The elderly persons accommodation proposals enjoy broad support as they are to be built on the “footprint” of the old school buildings.

Citizens Advice to get £12,000 boost for York residents financial advice and support services

 City of York Council is to consider funding an extra £12,000 for Citizens’ Advice York (CAY) so it can run additional drop-in help and advice sessions relating to universal credit.

The offer of the money – which is expected to be ratified at a decision session for the executive member for health and adult social care next week (14 September) – will enable the charity to reinstate two, half-day, advice ‘surgeries’ each week for six months.

The sessions had been threatened because of a shortfall in Citizens’ Advice income.

Demand for help is likely to increase with the further roll-out of universal credit across York.

Universal credit is a monthly payment for people who are on low incomes or out of work and is being introduced in stages nationwide.

An accelerated roll-out started in York in July and will affect most new claimants from this month onwards.

City of York Council has long-supported the work of Citizens’ Advice York and provides an annual grant of £122,500 so it can offer financial advice and support to residents.

The council’s cash contribution has been maintained at the same level for several years, despite budget pressures.

It has also pledged an extra £100,000 over two years from its ‘improving finances, improving lives’ fund to pay for additional services including a Citizens’ Advice debt support worker and GP surgery-based advice sessions.

Councillor Carol Runciman, who has responsibility for financial inclusion, said:

The introduction of universal credit is a significant issue for many people in York.

“I’m very keen to make sure our residents have access to the information and advice they require when major changes are being made to benefits.

“I am delighted we are able to support the charity’s work with a potential funding boost to secure the future of the additional drop-in advice sessions.”

 

New elderly persons homes planned for Clifton plus changes for services for adults with learning disabilities

Burton Stone community centre to be demolished

New community facilities and 33 new homes for older people could be built in Clifton.

The homes include the city’s first available to buy for shared ownership on a council-built care scheme. This proposed £6.667 million scheme will meet increasing need for extra care for the city’s growing number of older residents and replaces an existing community centre.

The 29 new extra care apartments and four two-bedroomed bungalows would be built as an annexe to the Marjorie Waite Court extra care scheme. Up to ten homes could be sold on a shared equity basis, helping older homeowners – 80% of whom own their own home in York – to move to more appropriate accommodation.

It forms part of the council’s programme to increase high quality accommodation with care for rising population of older people, as agreed in June 2015.

The scheme’s tenants, local residents and groups using the Burton Stone Community Centre site were consulted on and their feedback has helped shape the proposal.

Besides using the land currently occupied by Burton Stone Community Centre to extend the extra care scheme, new community facilities will be built to meet the needs of local people, groups and Marjorie Waite Court tenants. Some of the existing users of the Burton Stone centre will move to new facilities in Burnholme, Tang Hall.

City of York Council’s Executive will also be asked to give their consent for the council to go out to the market to procure support providers that will deliver services for adults and young people with learning disabilities when they meet on Thursday 31 August.

At their meeting Executive will be asked for their consent to go out to tender for two schemes, a day base at the Burnholme health and wellbeing campus and a short breaks service, currently at Flaxman Avenue.

If they agree, Executive will be asked to delegate the award of the tenders to the corporate director of health, housing and adult social care in consultation with the executive member for health, housing and adult social care.

If approved, the day base will be part of the new Burnholme health and wellbeing campus, where building work is currently ongoing. The site, as a whole, will see over £35m of public and private sector investment and provide care, health, community and sports facilities as well as new housing and is expected to be ready in 2018.
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