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Parents and Council Working Together to Find Solutions for Foxgloves

Friday 15th October 2010



On Friday 8th October a meeting was held between the parents of children who use the Foxgloves respite facilities, Cllr David Sawyer, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services and Council Officers. The meeting followed the start of a consultation process to consider how respite services could be provided differently in the future for children with complex and challenging needs. Each family has been offered the opportunity to meet with Council Officers to discuss their individual family needs.


Cllr David Sawyer said: “It was a really positive and constructive meeting and I hope that many of the worries of the parents were laid to rest. One of the positives to come out of this is that both sides will improve communication with each other and the Council will look to involve parents more in the decisions about their children’s support. We have established a parent / officer working group to put forward suggestions and consider a wide range of options; this is what ‘empowering communities’ is all about, enabling families to re-design services to meet the needs of local people.


“There has been much said about what might happen to Foxgloves and the impact on the families that use it and sadly some of it hasn’t been factually accurate. As a Council we have many difficult decisions to take at the moment but some things are clear:

·         The individual care for each of the children is what is of utmost importance, as well as the support for their families

·         The focus of this consultation is to make sure that all the children, and their families, get the continuing support that they need, clearly this has to be within an agreed resource allocation

·         The continuing service will be developed with the parents and staff considering a whole range of different packages of support based on the individual needs of each family


David Cavanagh, Organiser of the Save the Foxgloves Campaign, said after the meeting: “We are delighted the council has expressed its 100% commitment to ongoing overnight respite care. We are pleased that the council has decided to develop services within the borough learning from the experience of the families, and also by enlisting aid from professionals with decades of expertise in the complex range of learning and physical disabilities experienced by the children attending Foxgloves.


“We are delighted also that conversations are being had with Central Bedfordshire to resolve the issue of parents from that area who have experienced much deserved long term support and respite from Foxgloves, and that the council are committed to creating a better system of support for families and young adults approaching or within the Transition process”.


“We are satisfied that the council is sincere in it’s proposal to first consult with parents before potentially dramatic shifts in care or policy are published digitally or in print. The parents, for their part, are happy to take part in the consultation process and assist in steering borough policy towards a greener, more economic, sustainable - which makes the very best of those invaluable human assets already in its employ - and above all, fit for purpose solution to the present and future care requirements of the severely learning disabled and their parents/carers within the area.”


Cllr Sawyer concluded: “Throughout this process each family will have dedicated time to discuss their individual situation and nothing will happen to Foxgloves until we are mutually satisfied with the provision for each child and their family.”


“It has become clear, even at this early stage in the consultation, that there will be some children for whom overnight respite care is likely to be the only answer. We will make sure that when this is known to be the case then there will be appropriate respite care made available for all Bedford Borough users of Foxgloves.”


“This change is driven by a need to find savings but is focused on a need to protect the vulnerable in our community and to provide the best possible outcomes.”

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