There should be better respite care for my son, 21, than at old people's homes

A mother has spoken of her disgrace after her young disabled son was offered alternative support at old people's homes following the closure of Scotter House respite centre.

Sam Johnson, who has Down's syndrome and severe learning disabilities, used to spend one week every month at the Scotter House facility.

But since its closure at the end of last year, the parents of the 21-year-old from Chancel Road in Bottesford have been told the only alternative venue for support is at an old people's home in Brigg and another in Ashby, or a respite centre for disabled people in Goole.

His mother, Donna Copley, looks after Sam on a 24/7 basis, but used to take him to Scotter House to allow both of them a break once a month.

And she is furious that better alternative arrangements have not been made to support her son since Scotter House shut – with only The Birches in Brigg and Sunningdale Care Home in Ashby available to him locally.

Mrs Copley said: "I used to arrange to drop Sam off at Scotter House when I needed a break. It was a safe place I could take him where he could have a mini-holiday.

"I think it is ridiculous to put young people in an elderly centre and I will not take Sam to one."

His mother would take Sam to Scotter House once or twice a month and she says he was always happy to visit.

Mrs Copley said: "We have had no respite since November and it is tough on Sam, my husband Andy and me. We have been left high and dry.

"Sam enjoys the break from us as much as we do.

"It is a 24/7 job looking after him and something that never switches off."

Scotter House may now be turned into a homeless shelter under council plans – something Mrs Copley described as an "absolute disgrace".

She said: "I wonder how they can justify spending £2 million on this facility and leave a young adult with no suitable respite facility."

Donna said she is given a payment to buy respite care, but there is nowhere adequate available for short breaks for young disabled adults.

She said: "I believe my son has a right to a facility where they also can have respite from their day to day lives at home."

Donna has since met with Councillor Jean Bromby who is now in discussions with councillor Rob Waltham about the situation.

Councillor Waltham said: "I realise that there is a bit of a gap for a respite centre for disabled young people and I want to fill this in order to provide more services for younger people and meet their needs. I am organising meetings to discuss a new centre and have already found a building which could be used."


Sourced from This Is Scunthorpe, 16th March 2012.