Pe­ti­tion move to save autism unit

Over 2500 sign up to cam­paign in one week

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Edel Ke­nealy

Over 2500 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion call­ing for South and North La­nark­shire coun­cils to fund the lo­cal Autism One Stop Shop in the long term.

Launched a week ago, the pe­ti­tion was set up by a par­ent who was told the life­line cen­tre will close at the end of June if both lo­cal au­thor­i­ties fail to pro­vide fi­nan­cial back­ing.

The La­nark­shire fa­cil­ity is one of six Autism One Stop Shops that opened across Scot­land in 2013 un­der the Scot­tish Govern­ment, in part­ner­ship with Scot­tish Autism, Autism Ini­tia­tives and The Na­tional Autis­tic So­ci­ety Scot­land.

Funded for two years, the shops were ini­tially due to be handed over to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, which were in that time tasked with de­vel­op­ing their own lo­cal autism strat­egy.

But North and South La­nark­shire coun­cils have failed to pro­vide any cash, leav­ing the cen­tre and the fam­i­lies who use it in cri­sis.

Karen No­ble who launched her pe­ti­tion on said: “The One Stop Shop of­fers an ad­vice line, drop in ses­sions, one to one ap­point­ments, work­shops, sup­port groups and a re­source room full of books and in­for­ma­tion.

“They have been the most won­der­ful sup­port for my­self, my daugh­ter and the rest of my fam­ily.

“With­out them my life would have fallen apart.

“The One Stop Shop sup­ports the whole of both North and South La­nark­shire. Hun­dreds of fam­i­lies who will be af­fected by its clo­sure. Please save our One Stop Shop.”

Scot­tish Autism told the Re­former it had “made ev­ery ef­fort” to li­aise with North and South La­nark­shire coun­cils re­gard­ing fu­ture fund­ing and has sub­mit­ted a com­pre­hen­sive re­port on the work­ing of the shop.

But a spokes­woman for South La­nark­shire Coun­cil con­firmed, as the Re­former went to press, that no fi­nan­cial sup­port would be pro­vided.

Michelle McCon­nachie, adult and older peo­ple ser­vice man­ager for South La­nark­shire Coun­cil, said: “The Scot­tish Govern­ment ad­vised that fund­ing for the One Stop Shop would come to an end in March 2016 and re­quested feed­back from the au­thor­i­ties as to the fea­si­bil­ity of the ser­vices con­tin­u­ing as part of the de­liv­ery mech­a­nism for lo­cal autism strate­gies.

“South La­nark­shire Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship and the coun­cil have of­fered a com­mit­ment to work in part­ner­ship with La­nark­shire One Stop Shop to en­sure that in­di­vid­u­als with autism and their fam­i­lies can ac­cess sup­port and guid­ance from within cur­rent [coun­cil-run] re­sources to meet their needs.”

Bobby Miller, head of adult so­cial work ser­vices for North La­nark­shire Coun­cil, said: “We have re­ceived a fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tion from Scot­tish Autism.

“How­ever, the coun­cil, to­gether with NHS La­nark­shire, al­ready funds and sup­ports HOPE, a lo­cal North La­nark­shire autism or­gan­i­sa­tion, which pro­vides in­for­ma­tion and sup­port to in­di­vid­u­als and their fam­i­lies.

“We have done this for some years with ex­cel­lent out­comes for those af­fected by the con­di­tion.”

“Any ad­di­tional ser­vice de­vel­op­ments for peo­ple with autism will be part of the wider con­sid­er­a­tions for the Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship in North La­nark­shire.

“In the mean­time if any­one is wor­ried and needs ad­vice or sup­port to deal with their per­sonal or a fam­ily mem­ber’s cir­cum­stances, they should phone or email Mor­ris Howat, se­nior of­fi­cer, who will try to link them with the right means of ad­dress­ing their dif­fi­cul­ties.

“Mor­ris can be con­tacted di­rectly by email: howatm@ north­lan. gov. uk or by phone: 01698 332662.”


Life­line Amanda Ay­ton and son Lyle de­pend on the life­line ser­vice

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