THE dream of a £3m respite centre for hundreds of disabled young people is closer to becoming a reality.
The shell of the Smile Centre, next to Rachel Madocks School in Cowplain is now complete.
But the charity Smile Support and Care needs a further £200,000 to fit it with specialist equipment and furnishings.
So far, £3.2m has been raised in just a couple of years so Stuart Baldwin, the chief executive of Smile, is confident that generous readers of The News can help raise the rest.
He said: ‘The commitment to building this centre is in recognition of the fact that respite is the service most often requested by family caregivers, yet it is in critically short supply.
‘Families become exhausted with the unremitting nature of caring for a child with a complex and potentially life-limiting disability.
‘Sometimes parents feel a natural guilt or reluctance to relinquish their caring responsibility, but Smile aims to empower them to acknowledge that through effective respite care they themselves can become rejuvenated carers of their children.
‘Short breaks benefit the parents and child which makes a big difference by reducing stress, enabling them to have a rest from the demands of caring, and time to carry out activities of their choice.
‘At the moment we’re still fundraising. We need everybody’s support.
‘We’ve got the last bit to go so we’re counting on everyone to help us out and achieve this wonderful centre.’
It will accommodate two apartments, plus eight specially-equipped bedrooms with en suite bathrooms where children and young adults with severe disabilities can stay either with their families or carers.
Stays can range from overnight to a week’s holiday.
All rooms will be specially adapted to provide the highest specification ﬁxtures and ﬁttings appropriate to the needs of the young people while retaining a hotel-like feel.
There will be drop-in facilities for disabled young adults who otherwise may have nowhere else to meet and socialise.
The public can help by making a donation, becoming a regular donor, organising a fundraising event, or getting their company, school, group or club involved by nominating Smile as its chosen charity.
Go to smilesupport.org.uk or call on (023) 8061 6215.