Our Story by Liz David­son, Ross’ mum

The Oban Times - - News -

Fam­i­lies from ac­tion group Ar­gyll and Bute: Par­ents Against Coun­cil Cuts (AB-PACC) thanked the na­tional coali­tion for their sup­port and shared with The Oban Times the stress they have been un­der since the threat to their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion was an­nounced.

‘WE MOVED to Ar­gyll around 10 years ago for the work/ life­style bal­ance and pri­mar­ily it was viewed by us a per­haps as bet­ter choice to raise a fam­ily.

‘We were lucky enough to be blessed with a great wee guy, Ross, 7. He really does have an in­fec­tious wee char­ac­ter and is known widely be­cause of this.

‘How­ever he strug­gles with dayto- day life due to be­ing autis­tic, some­thing that will be­come more and more ap­par­ent to him as he grows older.

‘Since we first dis­cov­ered th­ese cuts, which were ex­plained to us by an­other anx­ious par­ent, we have been all con­sumed with them, par­tic­u­larly in re­la­tion to the 45 per cent Ad­di­tional Sup­port Needs (ASN) pro­posed cut in sup­port for our child.

‘ We just couldn’t be­lieve that this could pos­si­bly be an op­tion for Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil given that they have a statu­tory obli­ga­tion to dis­abled chil­dren.

‘It to­tally flies in the face of GIRFEC (Get­ting it Right for Ev­ery Child - a na­tional frame­work pol­icy for the de­liv­ery of ed­u­ca­tion), some­thing all coun­cils in Scot­land must ad­here to.

‘We have been writ­ing to coun­cil­lors and meet­ing with them, in­clud­ing coun­cil leader Dick Walsh and area chair­man Roddy McCuish, who were part of the project board who made the de­ci­sion to put for­ward the cuts in the first place.

‘ We have also been writ­ing to MSPs and even MPs.

‘All of this stress means we have been hav­ing trou­ble sleep­ing and con­cen­trat­ing on fam­ily life as a whole.

‘We at­tended a meet­ing re­cently with coun­cil­lors and were ex­tremely up­set to see an­other par­ent, a very ar­tic­u­late par­ent, be­come tear­ful when try­ing to get an­swers as to why th­ese cut’s are even con­sid­ered as an op­tion.

‘We can see ex­actly the same anx­i­eties and wor­ries in other par­ents eyes and hear it in their voices.

‘We know cuts need to be made in the hard times we are liv­ing in, namely aus­ter­ity, how­ever surely it can­not be to the detri­ment of the most vul­ner­a­ble within our so­ci­ety?

‘It beg­gars be­lief. Suf­fice to say it is clear that the par­ents of all dis­abled chil­dren are suf­fer­ing mas­sively due to the stress and strain that the coun­cil have put us un­der.’

Mum Jan Roberts added: ‘The last weeks since Oc­to­ber 2 when the bud­get con­sul­ta­tion was an­nounced have been ex­tremely stress­ful for us all.

‘ We have had sleep­less nights and end­less worry. Ev­ery day/ week is stress­ful, as it is, but this takes things to a whole new level.

‘ We feel com­mit­ted to work­ing as a group and we are very com­mit­ted to our cam­paign. No par­ent would change their in­volve­ment it’s for our kids and what wouldn’t you do for your chil­dren?

‘How­ever, we should never have been put into this sit­u­a­tion by Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil.

It’s tir­ing, it’s emo­tional – but we won’t give up. To put an op­tion of a 45 per cent cut to a ser­vice that is al­ready un­der strain is un­be­liev­able and the pos­si­ble con­se­quences of such a cut are end­less.

‘We urge the pub­lic to make use of the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion doc­u­ment and to say no to th­ese and other cuts that will detri­men­tally ef­fect their life.’

SUP­PORT: Ross hand­ing over a pe­ti­tion signed by more than 1,000 peo­ple within a short time

frame.

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