Parents will fight to keep Autism service
One Stop Shop closes after councils withdraws cash
The fight to retain the Lanarkshire Autism One Stop Shop ( OSS) will continue despite the closure of the much-loved service on Friday.
Expert staff and autism trained advisers closed the doors of the lifeline OSS on June 4 after both North and South Lanarkshire Councils refused to fund the service in the long term.
But parents and supporters of the OSS have vowed to continue their fight until the service is reinstated.
A petition, calling on both local authorities to cover the OSS annual £150,000 running costs, was this week handed over to council chiefs and the Scottish Government.
It was signed by more than 7,000 people.
Karen Noble, whose daughter has autism, started the petition six weeks ago.
She told the Reformer families living with autism were not giving up.
“Parents feelings are a mix between heartbreak and fury following the closure on Friday,” Karen said.
“This petition has been signed by the autism diagnostic team, social workers, speech and language therapists, CAHMS, occupational therapists, teachers, paediatricians and many more professionals from Lanarkshire. These professionals have also written to the two councils asking for the funding to continue as this service is vital.”
North and South Lanarkshire councils are the only local authorities in Scotland that have not provided funding for a OSS.
Of the six which were set up and funded by the Scottish Government for three years, five have been adopted by a council.
And while South Lanarkshire Council has promised to set up its own, “improved” One Stop Shop, its first support group held on Monday was lambasted by parents.
Karen said: “The support group didn’t run as a support group.
“The parents got no support, there was no one today that had training in autism, there were no autism advisers.”
She added: “It took Scottish Autism, an expert in the field, over six months to set up the One Stop Shop so South Lanarkshire Council are going to take at least six months. Vulnerable children and adults will be left without support in the meantime.”
Brenda Hutchinson, social work head of service at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “We have put in place interim arrangements to make sure there is no break in services for parents and service users following the closure of the Motherwell OSS after national funding came to an end.
“Details have been sent to families who attended a meeting on May 10, or who have made individual enquiries.
“The council remains committed to developing the South Lanarkshire OSS to provide not just continuity of service but, in fact, to further improve it, including better integration with other support services in the area for people with autism.
“We will continue to work in partnership with parents and service users and will listen to all views that are expressed. These will inform the next steps including the service’s permanent base, services offered, opening hours etc.”
Heartbreaking Families say goodbye to staff as they close the Lanarkshire One Stop Shop