Uprooted tenants still getting advice

Gwen King at Kincraig Community Centre.

Gwen King at Kincraig Community Centre.

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COMMUNITY champions are reaching out to residents who have been forced to move off their estate.

The Queens Park Residents Association is setting up its first outreach service in order to continue offering support to people who have now left the area to make way for the bulldozers which will come in to knock down Layton’s iconic tower blocks.

Chairman Gwen King will be hosting advice and information sessions for worried tenants.

She said: “To some extent we find we are a victim of our own success here on Queens Park and we have more and more people flooding through the doors with queries.

“A lot of our tenants have moved to Kincraig ahead of the redevelopment of Queens Park and they have been asking us what they can do to get the support they still need.

“There are about 820 units of council accommodation in the area.

“So we thought it would be a good idea to offer the same service we have here to people there, initially for two hours a week.

“A lot of the people we help are elderly and don’t have access to public transport. They could use the telephone, but really prefer to see someone face-to-face.

“The kind of problems we help them with are form filling, understanding letters they get from the council and sorting utility bills.

“With the Government cutting back on the amount of cash it is giving to advice services, and with a lot of people facing hardship at the moment, we feel it is more important than ever we extend our work

“So an outreach service makes sense.”

The Queens Park office will continue to be manned at the same time as the outreach sessions are being held every Tuesday from 1.30pm to 3pm at Kincraig Community Centre in Bispham, from Tuesday June 19.

Around 180 residents have moved off Queens Park so far ahead of the redevelopment of the estate which will see the tower blocks demolished and replaced with low rise new homes.

Housing chiefs are currently seeking a developer for the ambitious scheme.

People are being offered alternative accommodation by the council, although those residents who wish to stay on Queens Park will be given the opportunity to do so.

The community association, which is a charity and funded externally has also just launched its own home help-style service, doing odd jobs for a number of people for a small fee.

Meanwhile the community cafe at Walter Robinson Court has also been relaunched and is open every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 9.30am and 2.30pm.

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