Parents’ shock as Sense announces centre closure

Children

Parents of disabled children left reeling by news of respite centre closure

12th January 2015 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Parents of disabled children have been left stunned by a leading charity’s decision to close a respite care centre in Glasgow.

Sense Scotland announced it is to close the facility in Newark Drive (below) after demand for the service “dropped markedly.”

Now more than 20 parents have appealed to First Minster Nicola Sturgeon for help.

The facility offers support and overnight care for youngsters with severe disabilities, giving parents and carers vital respite.

Pollokshields councillor David Meikle has written to the charity asking them to reconsider.

He said: "I'm disappointed that Sense Scotland has taken the decision to close their Newark Drive facility. I sympathise with parents who are upset by this and concerned about what will happen next. I hope at this stage Sense Scotland may reconsider its decision."

A reduction in referrals to the service come from widespread funding cuts to social work budgets across a host of local authorities.

Many parents can no longer afford to send their children to the service as their care budgets have been reduced.

One parent, whose autistic son has used the facility for 10 years, said: "Many of us are very angry that Sense have gone behind our backs; management have made this decision without even consulting us.

"They only sent us a letter two weeks before Christmas to say this was happening. They didn't involve us in any way to see what could be done to stop it.

"They didn't even tell us this could be on the cards.

"My son will use his last two nights of respite in February and then he doesn't know if he'll ever go back.

"He doesn't have the understanding for me to tell him what's happening and transition is a very big thing for him."

John Roxburgh, head of operational services at Sense Scotland, said: "It is with regret that we have taken the difficult decision to close the respite service at Newark Drive in Glasgow.

"Demand for the service has dropped markedly and it is simply unaffordable to keep it open beyond March 2015.

"Sense Scotland has additional services available and we will work closely with families and appropriate local authorities over the next two to three months to put alternative arrangements in place.

"We understand the concern of families and we will work hard to ensure this change has minimal impact on them."

13th January 2015 by Alan Young

Was John Roxburgh unwilling or unable to tell the interviewer why Sense Scotland took their 'difficult' and 'regrettable' decision to close the centre without consulting with its users, involving them "in any way to see what could be done to stop it" or even tell ing them that closure "could be on the cards"?