Families ‘fearful of the future’ if Oaklands ‘lifeline’ respite care cut
More than 500 people have signed a petition to stop funding cuts to respite and residential care at the Oaklands centre in Rogerstone, near Newport.
Oaklands provides care and short breaks including overnight stays to children and young people with learning disabilities and other complex physical and mental needs.
Newport City Council are considering plans to cut opening hours and reduce the number of children using the service each week from 21 to 11.
The council say the reduction in services will save more than £485,000 to help fill the £30m hole in their budget.
They have stressed that no decisions have been made and a public consultation into the plans is still ongoing.
Carli and Chris Jordan’s 11 year old son Brodey has autism and severe development delay. His condition was made worse when he caught osteomyelitis, a rare bone infection, in 2020. They say ‘the thought of Newport City Council taking this lifeline away is absolutely heartbreaking’, and they’re ‘frightened of what will happen to their family’.
They say Brodey’s care puts so much pressure on them that they are considering separating if the cuts happen. Living apart would mean they have more time to care for their other 2 children who also have autism, as well as giving themselves a break for their own mental health.
Parents are also concerned that the consultation is not accessible for the children who use Oaklands to have their say, as some are non-verbal.
They also say the cuts are short-sighted and wouldn’t save money, with more children potentially being passed onto the care of the local authority if parents can’t cope. They say the council could end up purchasing similar services from other providers in crisis situations if no service is available locally.
The consultation is expected to end on the 2nd of February.