Emotional appeal to save respite homes in Redruth and Truro
AN EMOTIONAL appeal has been launched to save threatened respite homes which give disabled children social opportunities and parents a break.
The Save St Christopher's Redruth and Redwing Truro Respite Services petition on Facebook has already attracted more than 1,000 members, including parents of children using the services.
Cornwall Council said it may close both centres.
The petition calls on council leaders to retain the respite services, which families said provide vital support.
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Jodie Debenham wrote on Facebook of the "much needed sanctuary and safe havens", adding: "Why should children with severe disabilities and life limiting illnesses have the one tiny piece of enjoyment ripped away from them just because the government has overspent and need to claw some of the wasted money back.
"We plan to fight this all the way. We need sit-ins, petitions, marches. We will not allow you to do this to our children."
Council officers told a public meeting at Penventon Park Hotel in Redruth, about a proposal to close the two homes. A second meeting was taking place yesterday.
The proposal could mean both homes closing by June 2014. The council, which spent £5 million on respite breaks last year, is trying to save £24 million across its budget.
Heather Ranson wrote on Facebook: "My daughter goes to St Christopher's. She is devastated and I'm shocked, appalled and very, very angry. How can they do this? I appreciate it so much as I'm a lone parent (hubbie died six years ago)."
Rachel Rawicki is calling on people to sign copies of the petition at ARC Carwash in Pool and Mount Ambrose Post Office and Stores.
Sue Pascoe wrote on Facebook: "My autistic 12-year-old son goes to St Christopher's Lowenna in Truro. I am an older mum, somewhat disabled myself. The respite I get is a complete lifeline. How can the council be so heartless to take this away from us?"
The council, which spends £10.5 million on services to support children with special needs and disabilities, said it had yet to confirm the future of the 20 staff at the centres.
It said it was reviewing its services because of government cuts in funding forcing it to make further £196 million savings by 2019.
Proposals are set to go to the council's Cabinet in January.