Extra cash for children’s support

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HAMPSHIRE County Council has agreed a measure it says will offer families with disabled children greater choice of short breaks and support.

Councillor Roy Perry, deputy council leader and leader for children’s services, has agreed a budget of more than £3.25m in grants for voluntary sector organisations and special schools.

It will be used to deliver short breaks, activity sessions and holiday playschemes for children with disabilities.

Councillor Perry said: “I am happy to approve this budget and the proposals to deliver these important services to children with disabilities.

‘We know from the consultation we have done with families through Parent Voice and Parent Forum that access to holiday playschemes and short breaks is what they value the most.

‘I am confident that by better integration of services provided by local special schools and the voluntary sector organisations working in the community, families will benefit from a choice of services which meet their children’s needs.’

More than 2,000 children benefited from playschemes, short breaks and activity sessions last year.

It is hoped even more children will access them over the forthcoming year as a result of the decision. For older children, the council plans to develop a buddy scheme to help them access a range of universal services such as sport, leisure, art, music and drama activities.

The programme of support follows a decision by the leader of the council, Cllr Ken Thornber, to add an extra £1m to the council’s budget proposals for short breaks for disabled children.

The proposal was made after a consultation with families, which found the breaks were the support they considered most important.

It was agreed by the full council at its annual budget setting meeting on February 24.

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