Parents against closure of respite services in Hemel Hempstead set up carer support group

Parents who launched a popular e-petition against the closure of services for adults living with disabilities have set up a Facebook group in support of carers.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 9:38 am
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 10:03 am

Hertfordshire County Council is consulting on whether to close three respite centres offering 'short breaks' for the disabled - Tewin Road in Hemel Hempstead, Hixberry Lane in St Albans, and Apton Road in Bishops Stortford

Parent Jackie Wilks, whose daughter has learning disabilities, created the petition calling for the council to take a different approach when liaising with families.

And she also formed Hertfordshire Respite User Group on Facebook for views of people who use the services or are considering using it in the future.

Tewin Road in Hemel Hempstead

Her petition has received 463 signatures from the public.

The council said the services were being closed because they were under-used, but the petition asks for adult care services to examine the reasons for under-use and learn from families and people with learning disabilities about the options they would like to see in the future.

The petition states: "We are instructing adult care services to hold off on any proposals to close existing services and take the time to work with families and people with learning disabilities to understand the reasons for the current under-usage and the options they would like to see developed in the future.

"We believe that this approach will ensure best value and will also enable a true co-design and co-production of personalised and flexible options for overnight respite care."

An initial consultation closed on November 7, which called for Isabel Court in Hoddesdon to be closed instead of the Bishops Stortford centre, and the second consultation is open until January 21.

The council estimated that the initial plans to close the three centres would save £900,000 a year, which they said they could better spend elsewhere.

To read more details and sign the petition go to democracy.hertfordshire.gov.uk/ and click on 'petitions'.