Surrey parents' fears over Tadworth respite unit

Image caption,
The overnight respite unit has beds for six children with disabilities

The opening of a new overnight respite care unit for disabled children has been put on hold by a local authority.

The £1.7m facility at Applewood House in Tadworth was built to offer parents of disabled children an overnight break from full-time care.

But Surrey County Council said it was expensive and it must find significant savings. The unit's day care service remains open.

Parents hoping to benefit from the service said they were "devastated".

Emma Packham, a full-time carer to her autistic son, was hoping for respite care one night a month.

'Unsettling time'

She said: "Even if you have had a couple of bad nights, you know you've got that one night where you can have a complete break and do the things that autism stops us doing the rest of the time.

"It feels like the rug has been pulled from beneath us. It's a purpose-built bungalow but half of it is not being used at all."

Surrey County Council said the service has been put on hold until it has carried out a public value review of children's services.

A spokeswoman said: "We recognise that for families this period of review will be an unsettling time as overnight short breaks are traditionally a popular and highly valued service.

"The review aims to ensure the council and other sectors are able to provide a wide range of short break services that are equitable, affordable and available across the county in the future."

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