Truro and Redruth residential centres face closure

Two residential centres that provide short breaks for disabled children and young people in Truro and Redruth could be closed by Cornwall Council.

The authority currently runs six centres across the county and last year spent about £5m on respite breaks.

The authority is proposing the cuts as part of its draft budget, in an attempt to save £24m.

It said it was being forced to review services in the face of government spending reductions.

'Significant impact'

St Christopher's in Redruth and Red Wing in Truro provide planned short breaks for children and young people between the ages of five and 18 who have a severe learning disability.

Carol Richardson, who has a son with Down's Syndrome who goes to the Red Wing unit, said: "He loves it there.

"It gives him the opportunity to see his friends and an overnight stay and a bit of an adventure.

"It is just invaluable and it leaves us at home to lead a relatively normal family life for one night."

The authority said meetings were being held with parents and staff that would be affected and no decision would be made until January.

The council said a recent review of the residential short break services found high costs in comparison with national averages.

"We need to innovate in terms of how we use our residential short break service to ensure the limited and reducing resources we have meet the needs of as many disabled children as possible," it said.

"While we recognise that this would have a significant impact on the families who use these units and the staff who work there, this proposal is considered to be the least disruptive in terms of service provision."

If a decision was made to close the units, a full assessment of the needs of all affected children would be carried out before any change took place.

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