A SOCIAL care service supporting vulnerable people across Maldon and the Dengie is to be axed.

One Support, which provides social care to around 1,600 elderly and vulnerable residents with physical and mental health problems, is due to be completely removed from the Maldon and Dengie areas by March 31.

Carers visit clients at least once a week to help them manage their day-to-day life, including organising finances to helping carry out household jobs.

The programme is a subsidiary of One Housing, which helps create homes and support people to help them live better and healthier, and is jointly managed by Essex County Council and Moat Housing.

However, those who receive the support have been informed that the service will no longer be provided, as part of planned cuts of £713,000 to social care in Essex. It is understood ten staff will lose their jobs.

Vanessa Button, 75, of Washington Road, suffers from arthritis and joint issues, meaning she has trouble walking.

She said: “The carers come to visit me once or twice a week to help out with my day-to-day life, I’ve been part of it for years.

“I have limited family so they’re some of the only company I have. I will be devastated when they stop coming.”

A One Support client from Maldon said the council had offered no alternative or replacement once the programme stops.

The man from Washington Close, who asked not to be named, said: “There has been a constant string of cutbacks to social care year after year, and to get rid of One Support without offering any alternative or plan to replace it is outrageous.

“I suffer from bipolar depression, and the carers who visit me are my only visitors, they’ve helped me so much and are integral to me, but now we’re not being offered anything in replace of it once it goes. I don’t have any other visitors, as do many of One Support’s other clients. This service is the only contact time with other people that some residents have.

“There are hundreds of people who this will affect in the district, and many will have physical disabilities who rely on the care even more, it could be devastating.

“The council should be listening to what their people want and need, they haven’t provided us with any suggestion over what could come next. We need a long-term plan of up to 20 years to know what will happen and how they’ll prepare for it.”

“People may shrug it off if it doesn’t affect them, but everyone will have a mother, father and grandparent who may one day need it. It’s bound to affect a great many people.”

Roger Brookes, of Chapel Road, Burnham, suffers from diabetes and angina attacks, and has used the service for years.

He said: “We were not told about this until we had this letter come through. It’s just been sprung on us out of nowhere.

“I have no idea what will happen when it does go, I rely on the carers for my health. If they have to stop coming I’m going to get more and more ill and stressed.”

Dick Madden, councillor responsible for adults and children, said One Support was writing to everyone they support to identify those who are vulnerable.

He added: “The welfare of our most vulnerable residents will continue to be our focus.

“We are working closely with all involved parties to help ensure this and I advise anyone who feels vulnerable or in need of support to contact Essex County Council by calling Social Care Direct on 0345 603 7630.”