Sign the petition right here, and get Ealing Council to consider the #thirdoption and keep children's respite in Ealing
Click here to tell Ealing Council about the Third Option for Heller House.
Ealing Council is making a horrible mistake.
They are closing down the only respite centre this borough has for children with severe special needs and sending these very vulnerable children out to other boroughs - we do not know where, and neither do they.
They do not have to make this mistake - we feel there is another option for children in Ealing.
Croydon a suitable "local" alternative to Heller House?
Well Ealing Council certainly seems to think so... Click here to read the full article from the Ealing Gazette here.
Senior Labour politician Dr Onkar Sahota adds his name to campaign.
Councillors agreed in February to shut the only home for youngsters with complex needs in the borough. For the last few months it's been wound down and is expected to close fully at the end of next week.
The home on Norwood Road in Southall has provided respite for families throughout the borough and has been described as a vital lifeline for many.
Ealing Council has previously said it would 'continue to meet its statutory obligation to provide respite care to eligible families by supporting individual choice and where required commissioning packages of care from respite providers in Ealing and neighbouring boroughs.'
However parents say this will involve sending children away from Ealing - sometimes quite far - which they don't believe is a practical solution.
Siobhan Bryer set up the petition which calls for the council to consider other options other than closure. The so called ' third option' would be to have a private developer build a state-of-the-art respite centre in exchange for a portion of the site which would be used for redevelopment.
The petition has now reached more than 6,100 names online and more than 3,000 on paper. Ms Bryer says that last week Labour's London Assembly Member, Dr Onkar Sahota, added his name and told her he fully supports the campaign.
He said, "Ensuring families have respite care is absolutely vital but everyone concerned knows that Heller House is no longer fit for purpose. A state-of-the-art respite centre should be the goal that everyone should be working towards. I know that Ealing Council will be working closely with the families to deliver a solution that meets their needs".
Ms Bryer added, ''The reaction has been fantastic It is the largest petition in 13 years in the borough which shows the strength of feeling of residents.''
And don't forget to add your support by signing the petition. Share with your friends. Many thanks for all your help.
This is what Heller House means to parents - these are the people that Ealing Council are hurting by taking away this valuable service.
Help Ealing Council hear their voices and realise what is at stake - Sign the petition..
Mother of autistic son has heart attack - no respite in Ealing.
Ealing Council make the pages of Private Eye magazine...
... Unfortunately it is under a column entitled "Rotten Boroughs". Click the image below to enlarge the article.
Half way through a 'review period' - still no word on the #thirdoption.
Disappointingly, despite being over half way through the ‘three month review’ period there has been no word from the council about the #thirdoption. There has been no consultation with those leading the campaign and so far no replacement services have been found for families using Heller House.
Parent campaigners have been busy gathering evidence via a questionnaire to families, that more and more families would like overnight breaks, effectively demolishing Ealing’s argument that it is cost effective to use out of borough placements to replace an in borough service.
From 40 questionnaires returned to date by parents, the data of 23 states:-
- 11 requested overnight respite care but it was not granted.
- 12 were never informed that overnight respite in the Borough was available but their family would greatly benefit from it, if it was offered.
Heller parents are currently exploring if their fight to keep an overnight respite unit within Ealing can be taken to Judicial Review whilst trying to establish if an alternative service is going to be available to them after Heller closes.
The online third option petition continues and a paper petition focussing on keeping overnight short breaks in our borough is being circulated widely. Please sign our online or paper petitions to continue to pressurise the council to act.
Disaster for Ealing - Council have chosen to close Heller House.
Despite all of our protestations and a petition signed by close to 6,000 people supporting the third option, Ealing Council agreed, at a cabinet meeting on 16th February, that Heller House will close. The expected closing date is 10th June 2016.
The impact of the #thirdoption campaign was evident, as at the Cabinet meeting a three month review was promised, to consider, amongst other things, the feasibility of the third option (alongside any other options) and to investigate further the claims that the number of families in need of overnight respite are far in excess of the boroughs current ‘estimates’. Included in the review was a vague proposal that Ealing could consider developing a provision for the 16 to 25yr age group, completely ignoring the needs of families of 10-16 year olds.
Siobhan Bryar who leads the third option campaign was assured that she would be fully involved in the three month review.
The decision to close Heller House was "called in" for further review by an Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC), with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats questioning the logic of closing Heller House without having any replacement provision in place.
On the 10th March the OSC considered the call in of the decision to close Heller House. After an emotional, highly charged debate including a number of powerful contributions from parents of service users, OSC agreed to uphold the original Cabinet decision.
However, OSC, having fully considered the points put forward the following recommendation to Cabinet:
- Supporting representations that the third option could not be pursued unless it was clear that the Heller site would be put up for sale, OSC asked
'That as Heller House is to close, the Cabinet be requested to approve that the property be made surplus to requirements, and arrangements be drawn up for its disposal, and enable the third option to be explored’
- In response to compelling evidence provided by Heller parents showing that many more Ealing families need overnight breaks than children’s services acknowledge, and questioning whether alternative respite units in surrounding boroughs (including Havering!!?) would indeed be able to offer places to Ealing’s children. Also, in response to figures from the Heads of SEN schools in Ealing stating that 35-40 families were in need of overnight respite not the figure of 9 , reducing to 6 later this year and 4 the year after, that the LA was using. OSC also wanted Cabinet to note that in 2016/17, the OSC would be undertaking an in-depth review of "the actual demand and alternatives in/out of the borough, to understand the needs and what type of care is available, and also what can be/should be provided."