Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Home Saved - at Least for the Time Being

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Home Saved - at Least for the Time Being

Article excerpt

Byline: Keiran Southern Reporter

A CHILDREN'S home threatened with closure has been handed a lifeline.

Grove House, in Saltwell, Gateshead, offers specialist overnight residential breaks to disabled children and young people between eight and 18. Gateshead Council was looking to close the centre as part of a PS50m cuts to be over the next two years.

They come in addition to PS110m of savings made since 2010.

But the authority has announced they have dipped into reserves to keep a trio of disabled homes open.

As well as Grove House, Blaydon Lodge and Marquis Way in the Team Valley, which care for adults, were also handed a oneyear lifeline.

Now families who use the service have 12 months to find a sustainable future for the facilities. Possible solutions include renting out spare beds to neighbouring boroughs, or financial help from charities.

Sharon Bourn's son Robert has severe learning difficulties and relies on respite care at Blaydon Lodge as well as day care at Marquis Way.

She said: "While waiting for this decision, there's been tears, stress and nerves.

"I have lost nearly half a stone in weight.

"We are worried sick about the futures of our loved ones.

"When I got he phone call to say we had another year I broke down sobbing.

"It was a relief but we know the services are still not safe.

"We now need to work with everyone to find a solution."

If Grove House were to close its doors, the council had said the service would be moved out of the borough or parents would be handed individual budgets to find a care elsewhere.

But campaigners say there is no alternative in the area and it could lead to families paying more for poorer quality care.

The closure would have saved Gateshead Council PS280,000.

Council leader Mick Henry warned families the council could not be expected to keep using reserves.

He added: "Reserves are limited, when you use them you do not have that money anymore. …

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