Ealing Care Home Under Threat of Closure
Parents say Heller House provides 'lifeline' for many families
An Ealing respite care facility for young people with special needs may close.
Heller House on Norwood Road in Southall provides short breaks for young people with complex disabilities. Ealing Council is looking at shutting it and sending current users outside the borough, or revamping it at a cost of £3m, which, given budget cuts already announced would appear an unlikely option.
Jacqueline Swords, from Hanwell, has two sons with special needs who have both used the service. She says : '' Heller House has been a lifeline for my family - we wouldn't have survived without it. We've been lucky but it's vital it's there for others. We mustn't underestimate the damage that will be caused if it's shut. I feel passionate that it really must stay in the borough.'
Another local parent, Siobhan Bryar, has set up a petition calling on the council to look at an alternative option to closure.
She says: '' We need your support to make Ealing look at a third option, which is to have a private developer build a state-of-the-art respite centre in exchange for a portion of the site which would be used for redevelopment.
''This would be a WIN WIN situation where those with severe and demanding needs could have easy access to respite and their carers and siblings given time to recuperate and have some "normal" family space and much needed sleep.
''These children deserve and need to be in the comfort of a home setting which they are familiar with, with support workers and key workers whom they learn to know and feel safe with. They need consistency.
The petition has already reached over 1,000 signatures.
An Ealing council spokesperson said:
'' We have met with the nine families who currently use Heller House to reassure them that the council will continue to provide respite care and short term breaks to meet their needs.
''The council has been asking for people’s views on the future of Heller House which provides respite care for disabled children and young people. One option proposed in the consultation, is to provide respite care which best meets individual needs at high-quality facilities across west London and close Heller House. The other option is a temporary closure of Heller House to refurbish the site at a cost of £3million. All views and suggestions submitted as part of the consultation will be considered before a decision is made by the council’s Cabinet next month.''
The consultation (pdf) has now ended and Ealing Council is expected to make a decision on February 16th. If the vote approves closure, Heller House would shut in May.
January 27th 2016