Our Story by Liz Davidson, Ross’ mum
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