Jacqui Allen, Parent of Robbie, aged 12
Grove House is Home from Home
For Jacqui Allen, whose 12-year-old son Robbie has a genetic disorder, and profound learning disabilities, the short breaks the family have received since he was three have been crucial in helping to relieve stress and maintain family life.
Initially Robbie went to a family once a month for an overnight stay as part of Gateshead Council’s Home from Home service. When he was eight, in what Allen says was a seamless transition, he started going to Grove House, a well-resourced council residential facility which accommodates six children at a time. Robbie goes there for three nights on a rota basis every four to six weeks.
Allen says: “It’s a fantastic place and feels like a little hotel. It overlooks a park and has slides and swings, a ballpool, a sensory room and games and TV rooms. The staff are great and take the children out every day for a picnic or to the beach.”
The short breaks help to relieve some of the stress of providing 24-hour care and allow Allen, her husband Dave and 14-year-old daughter Chloe to have some time together. “The short breaks have been absolutely crucial and as a family we would have struggled without them,”‘ she adds.