To keep the funding for Sencom
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In October 2018 a blanket letter was sent to all service users that Newport County Council have decided to withdraw their funding from the Gwent Sensory and Communication Support Service. It appears that this decision was made without any consultation with the families who use this service or other stakeholders, in particular education and schools. Consequently we believe that this decision was made solely on a financial basis rather than user led. Although we appreciate the difficult financial situation that local authorities find themselves in, no evidence has been put forward by Newport Council to suggest that this decision will save money in the short, medium or long term. In addition this undermines the Welsh Governments own policy and guidance of working regionally to meet the needs of children with sensory impairment. Working regionally allows children within the Gwent area access to the same services and provides a standardised approach to ensuring services are delivered in a fair and equitable manner. Moreover, it stops a ‘post code lottery’ of services; ensuring that no child within the Gwent area, experiencing sensory impairment, will be left without a service.
Being a parent/carer is a rough role and one that comes with challenges. However, being a parent of a child with a disability comes with its own unique and difficult challenges. Fragmenting this service ultimately splits support mechanisms up; leaving children at risk of disadvantage and becoming disengaged from the whole Gwent sensory Impairment community.
Change is scary and is all the more difficult for children with sensory impairment. They require consistent and standardised care and support. It would appear that Newport have not considered the needs of some of the most vulnerable members of their community and have looked at soft options to cut funding.
Newport County Council have a duty to meet the needs of these children and we still have no insight into how they intend to do this. Cutting the funding for SENCOM without providing any alternative strategies is irresponsible at the very least, at its worst it negligent.
[06/12, 05:57] Dawn: Some children within the Gwent area have worked with SENCOM sin ce they were diagnosed as babies (some as early as two months old). We have built up not just rapport with professionals but supportive and mutually respectful relationships. Friendships have grown and become the bedrock of support for not just the children but for parents too. Withdrawing funding will shatter this support and fracture a community. The impact upon wellbeing cannot be underestimated as well as the potential impact this may have upon social services should families require additional support if the current support cannot be replicated.
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