Fears for elderly as visits cash cut

Phil Haworth of Carleton who is a volunteer for Age Concern
Phil Haworth of Carleton who is a volunteer for Age Concern
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A CHARITY worker is calling on town hall chiefs to put cash back into a service which helps elderly people when they come home from hospital.

Retired teacher Philip Howarth, who has been a volunteer for the Blackpool Age Concern hospital aftercare team since 2007, fears some vulnerable residents may be missing out since the council axed its funding for the scheme.

A council grant of £27,422 was not renewed after March this year, although the NHS has continued to support the service.

Mr Howarth, of Carleton, said: “As a volunteer, local people would normally receive between four to six visits from me.

“My role is to provide help and support by shopping, paying utility bills or collecting pensions.

“This allowed clients to feel safe and supported until their independence was restored by improved health. Obviously the service saved the NHS and Blackpool Council thousands of pounds as people did not go back into hospital or seek support from social services.

“Unfortunately, while NHS Blackpool continues to support the service, my voluntary role has become virtually redundant. I would urge the present Blackpool Council to restore its financial support. For without doubt this is causing hardship and suffering.”

Mr Howarth, who also volunteers for Age Concern’s befriending service, added: “The people who benefited from hospital aftercare are the generation who previously made the most sacrifices. I believe we owe these people a great debt of gratitude and this is why I wish to continue as an active volunteer – but to do this the service needs funding.”

The funding was scrapped by the previous Conservative council as part of £27m cuts.

Coun Kath Rowson, cabinet member for adult social care on the current Labour council, said: “The grant was not renewed in the budget agreed by the last administration.

“The council does still fund a number of services that Age Concern provides and we are working with them.

“The loss of any service concerns me and four years of Government cuts means some services are suffering which is a worry to everybody.”