Around 7% of children in the UK have a disability. For families, providing around the clock care it can often be challenging, so support is vital. Respite services help parents take a short break from caring for their children, so they can look after their own health and wellbeing.
In Hertfordshire, families that rely on Nascot Lawn – a respite service for children with complex needs – were informed that it would be closing without any consultation. They felt the closure would not only affect the children who use it, but also families who relied on the support.
To overturn the decision, the families started a campaign to save Nascot Lawn. Together they worked with Healthwatch Hertfordshire to:
- Support hundreds of parents with 24/7 caring responsibilities to respond to the decision
- Collect and present evidence to the council and CCG
- Raise awareness of the issue with the public and press
- Start a petition to keep Nascot Lawn open, which received over 15,000 signatures
- Pushed for a high court judicial review, which ruled in favour of the families
Thanks to the dedication of those involved, families with disabled and vulnerable children were supported to speak up and these views have been heard locally and nationally.
The council and CCG are now reassessing the way care is put in place, highlighting several inadequacies and enabling change to future respite support in Hertfordshire.
Although their work began in one area, it is positively affecting the lives of families with disabled children across the country. The ruling by the High Court has had a national impact on the way services are viewed and how they are funded.
The #SaveNascotLawn movement continues to campaign for better care.
The more that people share their ideas, experiences and concerns about NHS and social care, the more services can understand when improvements are needed. But, to make the biggest difference, we need to hear from more people.
You can make a difference. Find out more about our #ItStartsWithYou campaign or share your experience with your local Healthwatch and help make services better for your community. It starts with you.