Parents' fear children's respite homes in Redruth and Truro could close ahead of meeting
A MEETING called to discuss changes to two children’s respite homes has sparked fear amongst parents that the centres could face closure.
Parents who use the services at St Christophers in Redruth and Lowenna Redwing in Truro have been asked to attend a meeting on Monday hosted by Cornwall Council at Penveton Park Hotel in Redruth.
A letter was sent out recently inviting parents to discuss “changes” to the respite home services.
Speaking to West Briton one father said his wife was “reduced to tears” after reading the letter amidst fears the respite homes could be closed permanently. He said: “Our biggest concern is that they close these units or they tender them out and if they do, what kind of service would we be provided with?
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“The staff there are brilliant with the children and we would be very upset to be getting a totally different staff and service to what is provided now. A lot of people are really concerned about what’s going to happen to our children and whether they will get the best service possible.”
Children’s respite homes allow parents to leave their disabled children under expert care for a few days at a time.
Disability Cornwall, a group who aim to empower disabled people, say it is hard to over-emphasise the importance of the homes. They say the service offers vital social opportunities for children with disabilities.
Speaking to West Briton a concerned parent said: “It’s an absolute godsend to have these four days every month where they’re taking all the pressure off of us. If we lose that then I don’t know what we’re going to do.
“We need someone to stand up and say, ‘what is happening to these parents?’. We have had nothing except this letter. We phoned the centre and the manager did not know what we were talking about. No-one knew anything about what was going on until these letters went out.
“It is devastating. If we don’t have this service, there is nowhere else for us to go. These are the only two places for severely disabled children, not just mildly disabled, who need very specialist care.”
Cornwall Council has refuted claims that respite homes will close. A spokesperson said: ““There are no proposals to close all residential short break centres in Cornwall.
“The Council is committed to supporting children and young people with disabilities and their parents and carers.
“Last year the Council delivered 842 short breaks to disabled children and young people in Cornwall.
“A review of the local authority directly provided residential short break services has recently been undertaken, which makes recommendations about how the Council can continue to be proactive in meeting an increased demand for short breaks at a time when there are further reductions in government grants to local authorities to provide services.
“The budget available to Children’s Services has been reduced by over £17 million in the last 4 years.
“We will continue to offer a range of quality short breaks, in partnership with both public and independent sector providers, in line with our statutory duty for those disabled children and their families who need this support.
“However, the way in which short breaks are provided will evolve, as we continue to balance local needs with the resources available to the Council.”