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Adapted Vehicle Hire News Updates: Budget cuts spark fears for young disabled

MASSIVE cuts to services for disabled children could have a devastating effect on thousands of young lives.

The warning comes after planned savings from Warwickshire County Council’s Integrated Disability Service (IDS) rocketed from just £225,000 to over £1.7 million.

IDS helps disabled children and young people, as well as parents, by providing care assistance, specialist teachers, psychologists, physiotherapy, respite services and short breaks.

And the slashing of the budget has sparked fears among people who rely on it as to whether the level of service can continue.

Southam woman Lorna Pepler edits a newsletter for IDS users and criticised the council for refusing to distribute an edition containing an entry she had prepared condemning the move.

She said: “Thousands of children throughout the county rely on IDS for their support.

“There is a huge concern that potentially, the quality of thousands of children’s lives will be at risk in the near future and families will be thrown into crisis.”

Around 2,000 children and young people in Warwickshire are registered with IDS, which is jointly funded by the council and the NHS. The total budget of £5.5 million is set to drop to £3.8 million with the council cut.

Services set to be hit include those offering respite for carers and short breaks for children.

Warwickshire County Council said the cuts were down to reduced government grants and wholesale changes to the help given to special needs and disabled children, with schools, the community and voluntary groups expected to take more control.

But how exactly it will change is unclear and remains subject to a 12 week consultation starting in May.

The uncertainty has left those who rely on IDS worried.

One borough woman, a single mother-of-three who wished to remain anonymous, is among them.

She cares for a 17-year-old son, physically disabled by a number of conditions including cerebral palsy, and a 15-year-old daughter with autism. Her 14-year-old daughter is classed as a young carer.

She said the IDS allowed them to live ‘as normally as possible’ by providing help with care, along with short breaks for her disabled children and respite for herself and her younger daughter.

“I’m not sure I’d still be sitting here without the help I’ve received. I don’t know how I would have coped,” she said.

“Without the extra help I’d struggle to get my children out of the house. Life would be so much harder without it.

“The level of cuts was a real bombshell, and I’m now wondering whether we’ll be able to carry on getting the same amount of help.”

County children’s spokeswoman, Coun Heather Timms, said to make the savings IDS would have to modernise and give families more control over the support they received.

“This approach is being widely adopted nationally and has been implemented successfully in Warwickshire for adult social care,” she said.

A final decision on the change will be made in September.