Questions still asked over holiday clubs for disabled pupils

Emma and Mark Slack of Friskney with thier son Ashley Slack 8.
Emma and Mark Slack of Friskney with thier son Ashley Slack 8.

Concerned parents have said they are pleased at the county council’s latest announcement over holiday clubs for youngsters with special educational needs, but remain cautious as to future plans.

As reported last week, Lincolnshire County Council has said it will not axe after-school and holiday clubs described by parents as a ‘lifeline’.

Instead, it asked those who use the services to come forward and help shape a new contract to be put in place when the present one ends at the end of September.

A spokesman for the Lincolnshire Short Breaks Action Group Lorena Hall said: “We are delighted they intend to involve parents in planning future services. However, we are waiting to hear how services are going to be provided and funded. We are cautious as they have not clarified what they are offering,”

Emma Slack’s son Ashley attends holiday clubs at John Fielding School in Boston and goes swimming at the Geoff Moulder centre twice a month.

She told The Standard she was pleased the services would still be run, but hoped Action For Children and its staff, which has the contract currently, would continue to do so due to the high standards there were working at.

Ashley, eight, suffers from autistic spectrum disorder and a developmental delay which means that, he behaves as if he is 18 months to two years.

She said: “He absolutely adores it. When he realises where we’re going he starts bouncing like Tigger, he loves it. He loves the organisers, remembers the nursery rhymes, sings along to them. He’s just so excited.”

She said the club gives the rest of the family time to spend together and focus on each other or even get basic jobs done such as shopping.

Emma, from Friskney, said being a parent/carer is very demanding not just physically but also emotionally, adding that having to fight for services just adds onto the stress endured daily.

A spokesman for the council said future meetings would help define the services, but could not guarantee Action for Children’s contract would continue. A parent and carer working group is set to meet on Wednesday, May 13, at 10.45am at the Myle Croft Centre, in Lincoln.