Merton’s vulnerable-pensioners’ service saved


A vulnerable-pensioners’ service is being saved after cuts threatened to scrap it.

By Rhian Hughes

A vulnerable-pensioners’ service is being saved after cuts threatened to scrap it.

Merton Council’s decision in July to stop funding the Help Service run by Volunteer Centre Merton had provoked outrage among campaigners.

Wimbledon Guild and Merton and Morden Guild have agreed to oversee aspects of the service until it is reviewed by the council in the next financial year.

They will be helped by MertonVision and Merton Community Transport.

The service recruits volunteers for various schemes helping and supporting the elderly.

Russell Humphreys, Chief Executive of Wimbledon Guild, said: “After discussions with VCM and the council, the Wimbledon Guild and the Merton and Morden Guild have offered to give support to volunteers, who were part of the VCM Help scheme.

 “This is an interim measure as all services within the borough will be reviewed in the coming months.”

Wimbledon Guild already run a befriending service where volunteers visit isolated and frail pensioners who are often homebound.

They will work closely with Merton and Morden Guild to continue to support the 81 volunteers and deliver the service.

Hamish Duncan, General Secretary at Merton and Morden Guild, said: “It is important for this service to continue despite the economic cuts as clients depend on it and still need the service.

“We are confident it will be a seamless transition and the clients will not be affected.”

The council’s deputy leader, Councillor Mark Betteridge, said: “Along with the rest of the country, Merton’s funding grants are limited and we regret that we are not able to fund all projects that we would like to.

“We have never been able to lend support to every organisation or project, and the financial pressures we are all facing will mean that we will have to make difficult decisions as we review all areas of expenditure.”

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