CHESTERFIELD: Town disability service to stay open

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A service offering short breaks for youngsters with disabilities is to stay open.

Based in Queen Street, Chesterfield, the Action for Children Yew Trees service provides overnight short breaks and day care for 16 to 21-year-olds with physical and learning disabilities.

The charity has delivered the service on Derbyshire County Council’s behalf since 1998 but it was announced last year that local authority funding would end this September.

Around 30 families use the service and many had raised concerns about its future – fearing if it closed there would be no suitable alternative.

After these fears were raised, a consultation took place with the families and the Labour-led authority discussed future plans with Action for Children.

Following the negotiations, it was announced that the Yew Trees service would continue until March 2014. It is intended the service will continue beyond March through the use of direct payments or personal budgets.

County council lader Cllr Anne Western said: “We were aware of the concerns raised by parents and young people using Yew Trees, who feared if it closed they wouldn’t have a suitable alternative.

“The young people really value the service they get there and have built up strong relationships with the staff team.

“The listening event was arranged so we could get everyone’s views and, when we heard what they had to say, it was clear how important Yew Trees is to all of them.

“Yew Trees can now set about securing its long-term future.”

Action for Children’s Yew Trees manager David Widdowson said: “Yew Trees has worked passionately for many years to ensure young people with a disability have the best possible stay, try new things and have fun.

“Young people and families have always been complimentary of the care received – some of them even have their bags packed the week before and parents tell us the young people would rather go to Yew Trees than on holiday.

“We are determined to continue to provide a service that is second to none and are working closely with Derbyshire County Council and the families we support.”