Home-repair help for vulnerable axed

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A HOUSING repair scheme for ‘vulnerable’ home owners and private-sector tenants in Hucknall and the rest of Ashfield is to be axed amid spending cuts.

The ‘Care And Repair’ service, run jointly by Ashfield and Mansfield District Councils, helps people in these categories who are elderly, disabled or on a low income.

Local building contractors are used to carry out maintenance and adaptations to the homes.

The service is being discontinued because Notts County Council is removing its Supporting People funding from April 1 next year. It will mean a saving of £173,000.

‘Care and Repair’ was set up in Mansfield in 1988. It initially operated under the wing of a housing association until 1991 and then traded for a year as an independent company.

In June 1991, a decision by the Department of the Environment led to the service being carried out by the two district councils, managed in-house by Ashfield.

A report to a meeting of Ashfield Council’s Cabinet said ‘Care and Repair’ had functioned well over the years and had shown a good record of accomplishment in delivering its service.

The Unison union has also praised ‘Care And Repair’ and has described the loss of the service as ‘extremely regrettable’.

Coun Warren Nuttall (Lab), of Kirkby, said he was concerned about the loss of ‘Care and Repair’ to people who had been in need of the service over the years.

Council leader Coun John Knight replied: “You are preaching to the converted.” He repeated a pledge he has previously made to do everything possible to protect front-line services.

A county council spokesman said it was planning to replace ‘Care And Repair’ with another scheme called ‘Handy Persons’ Repairs’, which was being launched in Ashfield and Mansfield and would eventually become county-wide.

“The scheme puts people in touch with local firms to help them deal with small jobs in their homes,” said the spokesman.

“This will enable people to stay in their homes rather than needing costly residential care,” said the spokesman.