Respite care parents meet

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PARENTS have met with senior Sheffield Council officials in a bid to save Rushey Meadow children’s respite care home from closure.

Mums and dads, whose children attend the centre at Carter Knowle, want the council to reconsider the move.

Parents say the move will only save £120,000 and could cost the council far more if their children end up having to be placed in full-time care because they cannot cope with them.

They met cabinet member for children’s services Coun Colin Ross and officers at the Town Hall to make their case.

Jan Brown, of Chapeltown, one of the parents attending the meeting, said: “We would really struggle if Rushey Meadow closed. The two other respite care homes are not suitable because they accommodate children with disabilities who have to have things like feeding tubes and oxygen.

“Our son, Blake, who is eight, has severe learning difficulties and autism. He would be a danger to the children in the other homes because he would go round pulling their tubes out.

“We have been taking him to Rushey Meadow for three years and we would really struggle if it closed.

“He goes there one night a week and one weekend in six - meaning we can spend some time with our other son, Matthew, who is 13, and with our daughter Gemma Oakley, and our grandchildren.”

Mrs Brown, aged 50, who is Blake’s full-time carer, added: “We tried the council’s other alternative, giving us a budget to purchase care, for two years and it did not work. Blake went to three separate carers and none could cope with him.”

Caroline Draper, from Sothall, whose twin eight-year-old daughters go to Rushey Meadow, said: “There were people at the meeting representing 16 of the 27 kids who use Rushey Meadow and we all said direct payments or places elsewhere wouldn’t work.

“We made a very powerful case to the council and I left feeling quite positive that they will think again.”

Sheffield Council said a decision would be made on whether to keep the centre open over the next 48 hours and that the parents would be informed.