Poor funding creates holiday care lottery for disabled children

    The local ‘pot-luck’ provision of local authority
    funded holiday schemes is exacerbating the lack of summer holiday
    activities for disabled children, said a Barnardo’s report
    published this week, writes Joanna
    Pearl
    .

    Author Neera Shahna said that longer term and consistent central
    government funding is needed, so that local authorities can provide
    – and be held accountable for – their leisure and play
    facilities.

    With a holiday scheme costing over three times as much for a child
    needing one-to-one support, parents of disabled children are forced
    to meet the shortfall or cope with as little as two days’
    funded provision.

    Disabled children are often excluded from ‘mainstream’
    provision – such as local leisure facilities – because of
    inaccessibility and health and safety fears. In addition, parents
    may face a reduced income as they take unpaid leave for
    child-care.

    Shahna said: “When term-time support services [for the
    disabled child] end, the summer is a time of great pressure for the
    whole family.”

    The report, Postcards from Home: the experience of disabled
    children in the school holidays is available on:
    www.barnardos.org.uk/newsandevents/media/postcards.jsp

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