Care and Repair job losses on hold

BUTE’S older residents have received some much-needed good news this week after planned job cuts at Argyll and Bute Care and Repair were put on hold.

The independent charity, which provides advice for older and disabled home owners and private sector tenants requiring building repairs, improvements or adaptations to their home, employs 12 people across Argyll and Bute.

The service helps its clients obtain estimates, make grant applications, co-ordinate contractors and monitor and ensure satisfactory completion of works.

But the future prospects for the service’s staff looked bleak due to the budget constraints facing the charity’s main funder, Argyll and Bute Council.

Bute councillor Len Scoullar, who took up the concerns of several older constituents - one of whom has written a letter which we publish in this week’s issue - after it became clear the island’s Care and Repair worker, Duncan McKellar, faced redundancy.

And the service’s manager, Alasdair Oatts, has written to Cllr Scoullar this week to advise that the redundancy process “has been suspended in order for us to further investigate the possibilities of additional funding being made available”.

Mr Oatts said: “Discussions are ongoing. We have gone through the whole consultation process that one has to go through in these cases.

“We have a board meeting on Thursday, and although we are hopeful of a way forward, hope and reality are sometimes very different things.

“We have 12 staff across Argyll and Bute, and most of those jobs were under threat - we are not targeting any one member of staff in particular.”

Cllr Scoullar said: “When I was made aware of the potential loss of service to some of the most vulnerable members of the community I was very perturbed.

“Having made representations to the council leader and senior officers about the disastrous effect of the Care and Repair service being reduced in any way, I was delighted to learn that further meetings between Care and Repair and the council will be held in the near future.”