Wembley respite centre axed after failed High Court bid to save it from closure

Devastated parents battled to keep vital service for their disabled children open

A council-run respite centre which provided a life-line to disabled youngsters has closed.

Their devastated parents have spent months fighting against Brent Council’s decision to close the Short Breaks Unit, in Crawford Avenue, Wembley, which will leave a hole in the provision of respite care in the borough.

The unit was one of only of two such centres run by the council which offered short-term respite care for disabled children.

Campaigners took the case to the Royal Courts of Justice last year but lost in the High Court and then the Appeal Court.

Some of the children have yet to have been offered after school provision since it shut on January 13.

The council said provision would be made for the youngsters at another centre, in Clement Close, Brondesbury. But parents say the centre is not kitted out for their children’s special needs.

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Fitzroy Lee, whose daughter Kamaria turned 18 just before Christmas, said: “I am bitterly disappointed with the closure.

“This now means disabled children in Brent will be denied the use of a truly wonderful facility after so much work had been done to make it state of the art.

“Furthermore, a number of children have now been left with no after school provision, including Kamaria.”

The council’s decision was a result of having to make �104 million of cuts over four years.

There are plans to eventually relocate both respite care units at the Village School but this will not happen until later this year.

The council rejected counter-proposals that Crawford Avenue should be kept open until the new school is ready.

Romana Bhatti’s daughter, 16-year-old Zahra, has been offered after school provision but she is concerned there is no emergency respite care in the borough now Crawford Avenue has closed.

She added: “The whole matter is nothing short of a disgrace as not only have the most vulnerable been hit but our children are being sent out of the borough. Surely the most logical thing would have been to keep Crawford open until the new respite centre opens.”

A council spokesman said: “During this closure period, other services have been provided to families where there has been an essential need to do so.”