Parents’ fears on learning disability provision

Mencap parents group are concerned over learning disability  restructuring .Front centre Margaret Neave with the group outside Mencap .114524 Picture Richard Ponter.
Mencap parents group are concerned over learning disability restructuring .Front centre Margaret Neave with the group outside Mencap .114524 Picture Richard Ponter.

PARENTS of grown-up children with learning disabilities have raised major concerns about plans by North Yorkshire County Council to overhaul services.

Their fears centre around changes to services which will mean the eventual closure of Scarborough Training Centre and Burnside, both in Eastfield.

Resources to the tune of £2.4m will be ploughed into improving the Elders St resource in Scarborough’s town centre over the next two years.

However, parents say that the county council is not giving real consideration to their children’s needs, many of whom have severe learning and physical disabilities.

Ali Wilkins, whose 30 year old daughter has complex needs, said: “Using Elders Street as a daycare centre for our group is not showing total commitment to supporting the most vulnerable.

“It will not improve the general level of care and support, nor will it create a service which provides consistently high standards.

“To spend this amount of money on an unsuitable building in the centre of town surrounded by hills and traffic is a waste of money in this economic climate.”

There is also a question of personal budgets, which have been offered to those with low to moderate needs, but also to those with high level needs.

However, parents are arguing that those with high level needs will have no suitable services to access with the budgets anyway, rendering the move useless.

Sue Woodhead, of Tennyson Avenue, has a 38 year old son with complex needs who attends Scarborough Training Centre.

She said: “The council still can’t tell us what the provision is going to be for our kids.

“I feel like they’re moving the goalposts all the time and that they’re taking everything off us, which makes us feel unsettled.

“We’ll fight for our kids forever, but at the moment we don’t know what we’re fighting for.”

Anne Marie Lubanski, North Yorkshire County Council’s head of self directed support and transformation, said: “Any change creates a real challenge and we’re very mindful of that.

“In the next week or two, a newsletter will be coming out to tell people where we’re at and letters have been sent out to parents of those who use Burnside.”

She added: “This is a long process and I can understand people’s anxieties.”