Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECS to 80360, or email »
Lavender House, in New Farm Road, Stanway, could close to cut costs
12:00pm Wednesday 27th November 2013 in News
A RESPITE home for disabled children is under threat of closure, putting 42 jobs at risk.
Lavender House, in New Farm Road, Stanway, could close under cost-cutting proposals by Essex County Council.
The authority has launched a consultation on its short-term care for children with disabilities in a bid to save money.
It says Lavender House and a facility in Harlow could be closed due to falling demand.
Dick Madden, county councillor for families and children, said: “I know respite care is a lifeline for many parents and carers and I hope through this consultation we can develop a service offer that provides the best provision for the child and appropriate support for their family. Service improvement will be delivered over time and no family will be left without a service.”
Lavender House, which opened in August 2001, cares for children aged five to 18, and was 80 per cent full last year.
There were 110 children who used the house last year, or are currently using it. A council spokesman said, should it close, it was too early to say what might happen to the 42 staff employed there.
Julie Young, Labour group leader on Essex County Council, and who represents Wivenhoe St Andrew ward, said: “I have seen with my own eyes what the facility does.
“Parents with children with a disability have a hard job to do and these short breaks are vital to them. I would say a cut such as this, that attacks our most vulnerable members of the community, is disappointing and regrettable.”
Essex County Council says respite breaks are increasingly being provided by independent homes, foster carers, activity breaks and school holiday clubs.
As a result, it wants to develop alternatives to running its own centres, such as “spot-purchasing”
breaks at children’s homes and increasing the use of foster carers.
The authority is looking to save £215million over the next three years. But Mr Madden said: “We are purely consulting on options.
Should any changes be made, these will be delivered in a timely, sensitive way.”
The six-week consultation started on Friday and runs until Monday, January 6.
Give your views at essexinsight.org.uk/consultations
Comments are closed on this article.