Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/629/9839
Save the Big House
The Big House, in Edwinstowe, North Nottinghamshire, provides short-term respite care for families of autistic young people with behaviour and learning difficulties.
The county council wants to close this facility, as a condition survey says it would cost £1.1 million to repair. But the same survey says repairs to the only building used for the service would cost £181,000. The other £966,000 is to mothball an unused building on the same site that has asbestos problems.
The alternatives include contract care, unsuitable for very mentally disabled children, and a place 40 miles away, which could leave some with no choice but to put their children into full-time residential care.
Recently, in a demonstration outside County Hall, campaign group chairman Ian Ward handed over a 5,400-signature petition. Many people signing were disgusted at the county council for even considering the Big House's closure!
The county council head of Children and Young People's Services said the final report will be postponed until the autumn, to study the 'in-depth' review.
On 10 June, this determined group of campaigners featured on a regional news programme. Ian Ward and another parent spoke movingly about their children, the challenges they face and what the closure would mean for them.
No more tragedies
The item cited the case of Alison Davies who, driven to breaking point by caring for her autistic son Ryan, jumped off the Humber Bridge with him in 2006. Far from cutting the provision of respite care, councils should be increasing it to prevent more tragedies like this.
Keep the Big House open and give the people who use it, their carers, families and friends some peace of mind. Follow this campaign on Facebook. Enter 'Don't Close the Big House' in the search box.
In The Socialist 16 June 2010:
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis