Cameron writes to mother of disabled child who can’t cope

David Cameron is to write to a mother who may have to put her severely disabled daughter into care.

Riven Vincent, from Bristol, told the online forum Mumsnet that she could no longer cope with the day-to-day care of Celyn, six, who is blind, quadriplegic and has cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

In her message, she wrote that her local authority, South Gloucestershire Council, had refused to provide her with extra respite support to help with her daughter’s care.

She wrote: “Have asked [social services] to take [my daughter] into care. We get six hours respite a week. They have refused a link family. They have refused extra respite. I can’t cope.”

Vincent – who had a private meeting with David Cameron during the general election campaign after she spoke to him in a Mumsnet discussion last year – said she had written to her local MP and wanted to contact the prime minister.

“I don’t know how to email Dave now he’s PM or I bloody would. I have called local MP Jack Lopresti too. I don’t know what else to do,” she said on Mumsnet.

A Downing Street spokesperson said the prime minister is “very concerned at what’s he’s heard”.

“He’s writing to Riven Vincent and he’s asked her local MP for all the details of her case urgently. He’s also asking the MP to speak to the local council to make sure that she’s receiving all that she’s entitled to.”

Christine Lenehan, director of the Council for Disabled Children and a board member of Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM), said she was concerned that more families could find themselves in the same situation because respite funding is not ring-fenced.

“The EDCM campaign is deeply concerned by Riven’s story. Many families with disabled children are under extreme pressure because they do not receive the support they need.

“The government recently allocated £800m for short respite breaks over the next four years. However, because it is not ringfenced, we are concerned that councils will divert the funding to other priorities.

“Over the next few weeks, we will be writing to local areas to ask for evidence that they plan to spend this funding on providing vital support to families with disabled children.”

Community Care is awaiting a response from South Gloucestershire Council.

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