A CENTRE for families with children with disabilities and additional needs could spring up in Chichester – if it gets support.
Debbie Hanson, from Boxgrove, is looking to set up Bright Steps Together, a place where families would be able to receive respite care, day support and activities.
“The push was when I read about The Cherries closing,” said Ms Hanson.
“This idea has been in my head for a while. We have nothing in Chichester now. I know it is quite a big ask – but hopefully it will take off.
“From talking to parents and carers, this is something that would be truly welcomed and is needed in this area.”
Ms Hanson has worked with children with disabilities of all kinds for the past 20 years.
“At the moment I work in a special-needs school. Between us we have 30 years experience working with children with disabilities, special needs, medical needs, and their families and carers.
“I want to be able to offer all those things that parents really need. I know from the parents here that it makes such a difference to the whole family.
Ms Hanson is hoping Andrew Tyrie is going to give his backing to the project – after he spoke out against the closure of The Cherries respite facility in Summersdale. The service closed in December, despite a long-running fight by campaigning families.
“Social services are cutting funding for these services, too. But there are a lot of trusts out there which might be able to help,” said Ms Hanson.
“We are going to start small. Once I have a building, then the rest will follow.
“I have lots and lots of plans. We are aiming to offer therapies, including speech and language, physiotherapy, play and music therapy as well as sensory rooms and overnight respite,” she said.
“To be able to do this we need to acquire premises, purchase equipment and set up the centre. Once we have got started we would like to register as a charity.”
Bright Steps Together is having an open day on Monday, April 7 from 10am-1pm at Boxgrove Village Hall to meet families and get an idea of the services they would like.
To find out more visit www.brightstepstogether.org.uk