Review of respite services

I welcome Surrey County Council’s decision to undertake a comprehensive review of respite services for families of children with disabilities. This has the potential to benefit dozens of local families.

Across Surrey there are 8,000 5-18 year olds with disabilities, of which 809 receive social care support from Surrey County Council. In east Surrey, 37 of these children have used overnight respite services, although recent surveys have highlighted that there is significant unmet demand.

These children and their families have to overcome enormous obstacles in their day to day lives. It is in all our interests to ensure that they, their parents and their siblings have access to respite services that are fit for purpose and available when needed.

The decision to review respite care as part of a revised Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Strategy follows an 8 week consultation on the future of Beeches respite centre in Reigate, and I welcome the decision to secure the future of Beeches for at least a further 12 months.

I am delighted that Surrey County Council have committed to reviewing its approach to these services to ensure that all children get the support they need to live as full lives as possible. I hope this will go a long way to quantifying the identified unmet demand, and that this will be accommodated in the future.