Parents fears as Wembley respite care centre closing date looms

Critics claim their children’s needs wont be catered for

Parents have expressed anger that their autistic children won’t have a safe outside play area when a respite centre closes.

Crawford Avenue short break unit in Crawford Avenue, Wembley, which has large garden with a climbing frame and quad bikes, is the only place they feel comfortable letting their disabled children play outside.

But despite widespread opposition Brent Council will close the centre in September moving the 67 children to another facility in Clement Close, Brondesbury, which has a smaller garden and can’t accommodate the outdoor equipment.

Critics say the move will compromise care as Clement Close was set up to help children with physical rather than mental disabilities.

Roman Bhatti says she won’t send her 15 year old daughter Zahra to the Brondesbury Road unit.

She said: “Unlike the kids at Clement Close who are mostly in wheelchairs our kids are mobile and active and need an outdoor space to run around in.

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“My daughter likes to be alone but she is also quite vulnerable so I don’t feel comfortable taking her to public parks where she may get bullied or become frustrated and violent.

“I have felt that sending her along to this new centre would be putting her mental health at risk and I am not prepared to do that.”

Parents are pushing the council to keep Crawford Avenue going until a new purpose built short break unit at the Village School in Kingsbury is opened in the summer of 2012.

Fitzroy Lee, whose daughter Kamaria, 17, has been going to the centre for a decade, said: “These kids have very different problems and very different needs.

“We keep telling the council that moving our kids into Clement Close will be hugely detrimental to both sets of children but they don’t seem to be listening.”

A spokesman Brent Council said Cement Close is being adapted and staff will receive extra training.

He added: “We cannot afford in the current climate to keep the two centres open while the Village School is being developed.”