The Orangery ‘will open’ despite cuts

AmicusHorizon staff, residents and dignitaries gather at the topping out ceremony at The Orangery in September SUS-150409-132451001
AmicusHorizon staff, residents and dignitaries gather at the topping out ceremony at The Orangery in September SUS-150409-132451001

A new extra care housing development in Bexhill will go ahead despite concerns it would close before it opens due to cuts.

East Sussex County Council cabinet agreed to proposals to save nearly £2million by cutting the Supporting People grant which helps people in sheltered housing.

The cuts are yet to be agreed by the full council but it was feared The Orangery would struggle with the loss in local authority funding.

But the providers AmicusHorizon moved to ensure people the scheme will open as planned but the care provided would have to be reconsidered.

“Our new extra care scheme, The Orangery in Sidley, will open as planned in the spring with an on-site care team and housing management staff,” a spokesman said.

“The Supporting People cut will mean we’ll have to reconsider with residents exactly what our support offer will be.

“However, we’re confident we’ll be providing a high quality service to everyone in The Orangery.

“Residents will certainly have all the care and support they need to live independently a great quality of life in a beautifully designed, state-of-the-art scheme.”

The county council is looking to save £40million from its adult social care budget for 2016/17. Some of the savings look set to come from the Supporting People fund after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, January 26.

All the funding for the on-site support service at sheltered housing schemes, like The Orangery, could be cut – a saving of more than £1.2million.

And £103,000 is saved by cutting the on-site support manager for extra care projects which would specifically effect the unopened accommodation.

Bexhill and Battle Labour Party women’s officer Judith Meredith wrote to the Observer saying cutting funding before a scheme is open shows ‘an appalling taste’.

“I understand that such a centre seeks to lower the cost of care for the elderly and disabled, by centring it in one workable environment,” she said.

“It also aims to empower its residents into independence.

“So cutting the funding will only make for greater costs overall.”

Rother District Council Labour candidate for Bexhill Central Paul Courtel was also concerned with the proposed cuts to The Orangery, especially as a lot of public money has gone into it.

“Whilst residents will continue to benefit from the floating support service, not based onsite, the preventative care element enabling potential crises in health or welfare to be addressed early, is likely to decrease,” he said.

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