Tyne & Wear

Alan Shearer's respite care unit offers free stays

Former footballer Alan Shearer has launched a scheme offering free respite care to struggling families.

The ex-Newcastle United striker and his wife Lainya were guests of honour at the launch at the St Cuthberts Care Alan Shearer Short Break Centre.

The charity is offering free, overnight stays to children and adults with disabilities, in response to planned cuts to respite care allowances.

At the launch on Monday, Mr Shearer said the unit's work was "invaluable".

The centre boasts a hydrotherapy pool, sensory rooms and new music and craft rooms.

'Constant attention'

Mr Shearer said: "As a father of three, I can't begin to imagine how difficult it must be to care for a child with a disability.

"But I know if I was in that position, regular respite care would be invaluable."

For more than 60 years, the organisation has worked to improve the lives of disabled and disadvantaged people across the North East.

It was first established in 1946 and was originally set up to help children made orphans during World War II.

Austin Donohoe, chief executive of the charity, said: "Respite care for most families is the only chance to have a break from the constant attention demanded of them when caring for someone with a disability."

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