Close to 1,500 sign petition to save Newport care unit
9:58am Tuesday 5th February 2013 in News
RELATIVES and carers, fighting to save under-threat services for disabled people in Newport have collected close to 1,500 petition signatures supporting them.
The concerned group, who have named themselves "SOS Newport", are fighting the proposed closure of the New Willows care home and the disbanding of the family aid service.
The New Willows care home is a respite centre catering for disabled adults who suffer from autism or autistic type symptoms.
Distraught family members have previously told the Argus they fear for their children if they are moved, that the Willows has been a vital lifeline not just for their children but their parents, many of whom are elderly.
Under proposals set out by Newport City Council, the care home would be closed saving the council around £124,000.
Instead the council would make direct payments available to allow carers to choose the type of respite care they want.
This, it says, would include being able to use the money on "a holiday or a day trip out of the area," according to the report. Simon Harvey, whose brother-in-law Nigel Atkins, 43, who has William Syndrome and uses New Willows, said: "It really saddens me. Newport has fantastic services for disabled people and with one decision now they could throw all that away.
"These are valuable services for disabled adults in Newport and we need to fight to keep them."
Mr Harvey said the group used a meeting last night to discuss a possible protest march against the proposals.
Consultation on the proposals closes on February 13.
In a comment previously provided to the Argus by the council, Stuart Greenwell, strategic director of care and customers said the council is proposing to provide £400 a week directly to the families in lieu of the provision at New Willows.
Mr Greenwell, said: "The change is a really difficult one to expect people to feel comfortable about.
"What we have to do is provide people with information to see there are choices other than New Willows."