Centre is ‘home from home’ for our son David

NOT HAPPY David Allison with parents Frank and Sally
NOT HAPPY David Allison with parents Frank and Sally
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FOR most people a trip to the cinema is no big deal.

But for Frank and Sally Allison it is a rare opportunity thanks to Croft House respite centre in Fareham, which looks after their son David for 21 days each year.

It is a lifeline that the Allisons and many others fear they will lose as it is one of three respite centres Hampshire County Council is considering closing next year in a bid to save £1.7m.

Now the family has joined forces with a growing campaign, dubbed Who Cares? We Care! fighting to keep the 12-bed facility open.

David, 37, has Down’s Syndrome and has been going to Croft House for the past decade.

Mr Allison, of Solent Road, in Hill Head, said: ‘We first heard about Croft House from a friend, and it has made a considerable difference to all our lives.

‘David isn’t immensely challenging to us, he can cope around the house and he works four days a week at the New Blendworth Centre in Horndean.

‘But we can’t leave him alone for any great periods of time, and we know there are people much more affected than we are, but when David goes to Croft House we can do the little things that we know we couldn’t do with David.

‘And he likes it there – he’s used to the staff and the environment.’

His parents are worried about the alternatives the council will use more once the homes are closed.

Mr Allison said: ‘Orchard Close in Hayling Island might be good for longer holiday stay placement but this is not what we, or David want. And being situated in the southern part of the island, it is much more difficult to access than Croft House.’

The council wants to make greater use of the Shared Lives scheme, placing vulnerable people in trained carer’s homes.

But Mr Allison, 70, added: ‘David is very much a creature of habit and needs continuity in his life. Croft provides a home from home so when David is there we can relax and benefit from the respite knowing he is happy and in safe hands.’

To sign the petition go to ipetitions.com/petition/croft_house/

Councillor Felicity Hindson, the member in charge of adult social care matters will make her decision on May 16.