Festive cheer at The Cherries

Danielle Heatley and her grandmother, Diane, who is campaigning hard to save The Cherries
Danielle Heatley and her grandmother, Diane, who is campaigning hard to save The Cherries
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PARENTS of children at The Cherries were given a festive boost after a positive meeting with council members.

But they are still waiting for the best present of all, to have the future of their much-loved service saved from closure.

A task force set up to examine the future of the respite facility for children with disabilities has met with parents to discuss the service.

Jessica Heatley, who is leading the campaign to save The Cherries, said: “The task force sat down with a couple of parents and we talked about how The Cherries works for us and what would we do if we did not have it.

“We came away feeling good about their visit and felt they had listened and taken our comments on board.”

Changes to the criteria for NHS-funded short breaks services mean fewer children are now eligible for the service, which is now under review.

Representatives from the NHS told the task force the current services in West Sussex are not sustainable and ‘clinically and financially viable’ service provision should be developed.

Amanda Jupp, chairman of the task force meeting, said: “As a task force we made it clear we want parents to be involved in finding a solution and to be fully engaged so they understand what is going on. There may be alternative ways of using these centres to ensure their future.”

Lord March has backed the campaign to save The Cherries.