ANXIOUS parents are calling for more support as the future of their ‘badly-needed lifeline’ remains unknown.
The Cherries Respite Centre in Chichester provides care and support for families with disabled children.
The centre is under threat of closure because of a review of services by the NHS, who say they are struggling to staff the facility and have had no new admissions.
Diane Malkin’s granddaughter regularly attends The Cherries. She said: “We totally support these parents; disabled children and adults are getting a very rough deal at the moment.
“Our granddaughter goes to this respite home, but even if she didn’t, we would still help in their fight to stop The Cherries from closing. It is a badly-needed lifeline for all of these families who desperately need the respite it provides for them.
“It is so very hard for people who have not lived with disabled children on a day-to-day basis to understand just how important it is to have respite homes like the Cherries; because of the problems these children have it is extremely hard for families to entrust their care to anyone else.
“But they still need to have a break from the daily care themselves, and once they find somewhere with people they feel they can totally trust with their children, it is devastating to find out that the lifeline may be taken away.”
An online petition set up to campaign for The Cherries has more than 550 signatures, but parents are calling for sustained community support, and are continuing to hold weekly meetings to track any changes.
Jessica Heatley’s daughter Danielle loves her visits to The Cherries. Danielle’s six-year-old sister said: “Me and mummy can go for a walk in town and she takes me for lunch when Danzi is at Cherries, and Danzi likes the ladies there so she gets to play too.”
Andrew Tyrie, MP for Chichester, is also supporting the campaign.
Anyone who would like to sign the petition in support of The Cherries can visit epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/39459
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