ELDERLY folk in Droitwich Spa could benefit from a £2million sheltered housing scheme if a bid to the Department of Health is successful.

The decision on the extra care housing bid, which will mean more freedom and independence for elderly people who need care, was set to be announced today (Wednesday).

The cash is provided by the Government and all social service authorities can bid for it.

Worcestershire County Council's social services department led the submission of bids in the county and shortlisted schemes in Droitwich which were submitted to the Department of Health for approval.

For Droitwich, the bid is for £1.75m capital and £255,000 revenue to establish 72 homes at The Heriotts in Worcester Road and Lullowfield in The Holloway - two existing sheltered housing schemes in Droitwich which are managed by the Festival Housing Group.

County and town councillor Peter Pinfield (Lab-East) said: "I am really hopeful that Worcestershire will be successful in the allocation of funds. It would be a vast improvement in the quality of care for elderly people. It will enable a much wider choice within the town."

He explained: "The idea of extra sheltered care is that the care comes to you. You retain independence by having your own key but when you need help, it is there."

He added: "These sort of schemes have been very successful in the rest of Europe and America."

The cash bid has been submitted in partnership with Festival Housing Group, Worcestershire social services, Wychavon District Council and the South Worcestershire Primary Care Trust.

Worcestershire County Council has allocated about £500,000 to contribute to the project, which will include refurbished and newly built flats.

If the bid is successful, building work will start in September 2005 and developers will aim to complete it by December 2006.