Elderly residents ask for visitors to stick to the rules

ACHA Chief Executive Alastair MacGregor says all seven of its offices across Argyll are part of the Keep Safe scheme 17_T24_AlastairMacGregor_ACHA
ACHA chief executive Alastair MacGregor.

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A housing association has advised visitors to its sheltered housing complexes to comply with Covid rules after elderly residents expressed concern over the matter.

Tenants at Ford Spence Court in Benderloch wrote to Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) in between Christmas and the New Year after several requests to a residential visitor, who had travelled in from another council area, to wear a mask and keep out of communal rooms currently out of bounds went unheeded.

The complex has been without a community support assistant (warden) since March, and despite a concerted effort by residents and numerous signs advising on how to minimise the risks some visitors were still disregarding the rules.

‘Most of the tenants and our families have done our best to keep Covid out, so it’s very disconcerting when people come in and blatantly ignore the rules,’ said one resident.

‘We have six very vulnerable residents among us and everyone is anxious at the moment. In addition, spirits are low because our communal kitchen and lounge are currently closed, which is totally understandable. So when a visitor comes in and makes use of both areas knowing full well that they are not supposed to it’s quite upsetting for us.’

ACHA chief executive Alastair MacGregor confirmed that the letter had been received on December 31 and that the issues raised were currently being investigated and would be responded to.

‘The association, since the start of lockdown, has provided guidance to our tenants through a variety of routes, including social media,’ he added.

‘We have also advised our tenants by signposting to Scottish Government and NHS advice as well. Sheltered housing is not a care home and there is not a 24-hour presence. On that basis, adhering to the guidance is something that the association would advise residents and visitors to do.’

Mr MacGregor also defended the association’s decision to allow its wardens to work from home, stating: ‘During the period of the pandemic the vast majority of ACHA staff, including wardens, have been working from home as per the Scottish Government guidelines.

‘The reason behind this is to reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19 to and from tenants and staff. These staff provide tenancy support to our tenants and this was provided via daily telephone checks.

‘Wardens have since been back in to carry out a variety of safety checks in and around the complex and tenants’ homes.’