Sutton summer programme for disabled axed
8:01am Wednesday 18th July 2012 in News
A popular summer holiday club for the disabled has been axed.
The Holiday Inclusion Project (HIP) has been described as a lifeline for some 30 Sutton young people up to the age of 25 with special needs.
Based at the Quad, in Carshalton, it provided activities for up to three weeks each summer, providing respite for carers, and also allowing them to work.
But it has been axed due to a lack of resources following cuts to young people's services.
Children, whose disabilities range from ADHD and autism to serious physical disabilities, are instead being told they can attend activities in Sutton Council’s general summer activities programme along with able-bodied children.
There are a limited number of excursions, while a youth club will also take place at Sutton Youth Club.
But parents who used HIP have their concerns about the suitability of the programme for their children, and whether necessary levels of supervision and care could be provided for activities including swimming and ice-skating.
Mandy Kelly, whose daughter Emily, 19, has cerebral palsy, and is epileptic and partially blind, said: "Losing HIP is a big blow. We just don’t know how our children the general programme will work for our children."
Councillor Dave Callaghan, chairman of Sutton’s children, family and education committee, said: "This summer we are running a unified project for 13-19-year olds. It will provide a variety of places at a number of venues to meet the needs of young people and their families across the borough.
"The new integrated scheme will cater for young people aged 13 to 19, or up to 25 for those with additional needs. Younger children will be able to attend our popular play schemes.
"Once the project has ended we will review how well it worked with the aim of continuing to provide the very best, value-for-money scheme for Sutton’s families."