When plans to close Rushey Meadow, a respite care home for children with severe learning difficulties in Bannerdale Road, were published in the Sheffield Star, parents of children who use the centre were devastated.
Plans outlined in the council’s 2011/12 budget proposed to save £120,000 by giving families personalised budgets from which to purchase their own respite care.
In a desperate attempt to get their point across, several families made appearances in the local media. Parents highlighted the lack of alternative placements in Sheffield, which meant that it would be impossible for them to purchase an equivalent care package elsewhere. Rushey Meadow is used by 27 children, most of whom access the centre one night a week and one weekend in six. Because of their severe sleep difficulties, it is essential that overnight respite is provided outside the child’s home.
The parents were supported by the Sheffield Parent Carer Forum, whose members sent numerous emails to their local councillors.
The campaign culminated in an emotional meeting between Rushey Meadow parents and Cllr Colin Ross, cabinet member for children and young people’s services.
Just two hours after the meeting, Liberal Democrat councillors issued a press statement announcing their decision to keep Rushey Meadows open.