Mum contacts PM after children’s centre closed
A SOUTH Wales mum of three has written to the Prime Minister urging him to intervene in a decision to close a centre for children with autism and similar disabilities.
Mei Wong, from Penarth, whose eight-year-old son Andy attended the Smart Club at weekends, said she was “devastated” that it had closed as part of a £3.3m package of cuts in social services by the Vale of Glamorgan council this year.
A respite centre for disabled children in another part of the town, called Ty Robin Goch, which Andy also stayed at, is also having to reduce its services as part of the cuts programme.
Mei said: “We parents are so upset that the council has used the excuse of cuts to remove this valuable service.”
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She took Andy to Smart Club every Saturday, allowing her time to do the weekly shopping and other chores.
Andy also receives overnight respite care at Ty Robin Goch every fortnight, although this could be reduced as the cuts begin to bite.
Support teacher Mei said: “I cannot take Andy shopping with me because he is autistic, has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and epilepsy and cannot be controlled in any public environment.
“With the club closed, we will have to stay in the house.”
In her letter to David Cameron, she wrote: “He needs a safe enclosed environment where he can receive total supervision from the trained staff at the Smart Club.
“The purpose-built facility was opened less than a year ago at some considerable cost so surely it is not too much to ask to keep it open?”
A Downing Street spokesman said they had not yet received the letter.
A spokesman for the Vale of Glamorgan council said: “This is an unfortunate situation and in an ideal world the council would not have to cut any services. However our budgets are being reduced and we are having to make some unpleasant decisions.”
Shirley Parsley, national co-ordinator for National Autistic Society Cymru, said: “Before local authorities take any decisions about the future of local services, it’s vital they avoid a false economy by working with families to thoroughly assess local need and the impact cuts could have on the local community.”