“Unsung heroes” of the pandemic in Angus have been hailed in a move to expand respite care for profoundly disabled youngsters.
In a move agreed by Angus children and learning councillors, the Strathmore Centre in Forfar is to move to full-time provision until the end of January as demand for its vital service continues to grow.
The £12,000 move has been described as a “lifeline” for families whose challenges have been amplified by the coronavirus crisis.
Council children, families and justice director, Kathryn Lindsay said: “Currently, there are 26 young people accessing Strathmore Centre for respite.
“Each young person has an individual allocation of service varying from seven overnights per year to 59 per year depending on the assessed level of need.
“The current average number of nights required each month is 38.
This service provides an absolute lifeline and helps those children and families through often their most difficult and traumatic years of their life.
Councillor Lois Speed
“The respite packages in place for all of the young people who attend Strathmore Centre have been assessed as essential in order to support families to continue in their caring roles.
“The impact of being unable to provide these packages is great, and is likely to cause additional pressure on families, with the potential need for future crisis intervention,” she added.
Councillors heard the staffing cost of a sleepover is £84.06, adding up to an additional £1,681 per month to support the full-time move – a bill of £11,768 for the full July to January period.
Committee vice-convener Lois Speed said: “I welcome this and would like to take this opportunity to fully applaud and thank the staff of the Strathmore Centre who I believe are unsung heroes that provide first-class care and support to the children and families who access their service.
“I know first-hand that this service provides an absolute lifeline and helps those children and families through often their most difficult and traumatic years of their life; by not only providing much needed respite but also offering hope and belief that many of their challenges can, and will be, overcome.”
The Arbroath Independent added: “I could talk at length of the barriers that many children growing up with a disability experience, as well as describe how demanding a 24/7 caring role is and the impact it can have.
“And that is without the additional impact of this pandemic, which will no doubt have taken its toll.
“I fully support these recommendations that will ensure the centre can open and operate on a full-time basis into the new year.”