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Campaigners are claiming victory in the battle to save respite care in Ealing.

They say Ealing Council are planning to build a new overnight respite facility for special-needs children in a u-turn following the bitterly opposed closure of Heller House - the only home for youngsters with complex needs in the borough.

Heller House
Heller House

Parents set up a campaign and petition and have been challenging the authority to come up with a third option - which they say the council is now actively considering.

The news came out at a committee meeting last week and Ealing North Labour MP, Steve Pound, dubbed the planned building “daughter of Heller House”.

Councillor Binda Rai, Cabinet member with responsibility for Children and Young People, acknowledged the move followed the campaign opposing the closure of Heller House which saw the Third Option petition garner a record number of signatures.

She says: ''We’ve listened to parents and have taken what they have said on board as part of our review process. We are very grateful for their input and will consider proposals to create new, high quality respite facilities in the borough at next month’s cabinet meeting.''

Third Option Campaigner, Siobhan Bryer, says it's the news they had all been waiting to hear:

''This is such a huge story and such amazing good news for the most exhausted and loving parents in Ealing.''

Campaigners and Ealing Mencap were thanked for identifying the extent of need for such a service in the borough.

Council officers are now believed to be looking at two possible sites in Ealing for the new respite facility and also at another for a separate transition centre for those aged 16 to 25 who are moving from children’s to adult care.

They aim to bring detailed plans to the Cabinet meeting on November 15 with a recommendation that funding is released to allow the project to proceed.

Councillor David Millican,  Conservative Spokesman on Childrens Services has been working alongside campaigners to find suitable sites. he says:

''The Log Cabin in Northfields has just the right skills and experience to provide respite care for families with a child with challenging behaviour.

'' The campaigners have worked long and hard with Mencap to ensure that Ealing Council provides the solution given that the Council have closed Heller House without a workable solution. So I am pleased that the Log Cabin have developed plans that Ealing Council are considering seriously."

Liberal Democrat Councillor Jon Ball says: "I congratulate the third option campaigners and Ealing Mencap on identifying families that desperately need respite but have not been receiving it. These families have been let down by Ealing Council."

"As a result of this identification of extra need, I'm delighted that officers are now putting forward a proposal for the new in-borough respite centre that is so badly needed. However, it was totally unacceptable for the Labour administration to close Heller House with no in-borough replacement causing years of distress for families. Full details of the new replacement should be shared immediately with parents.''




12th October 2016 (updated)


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