MY daughter is upset because she has been told that her youth club has got to close. Chat ‘n’ Chill at Maltby and Kimberworth is a youth club for young people on the autistic spectrum and is one of the few recreational services that they and their families have access to, especially after leaving school. The closure will happen at the end of June because of changes to the rules for government funding.
Over the years, my daughter has enjoyed meeting her friends one evening a week in a protected environment. She has done crafts and baking, gone bowling, made things for Easter and Christmas and had BBQs for bonfire night. There have been day trips in the school holidays and even some overnight trips, which weren’t easy to organise when you take into account some of the special needs.
There is nothing to replace this opportunity for social interaction. The staff have been committed and brilliantly supportive of both the young people and their parents. I don’t blame the council; they have been backed into a corner by the rule changes and cut backs.
When my daughter was unemployed, she got help from Mencap. They accompanied her when she got a job interview and then were there to support her when she started work. Due to government cuts to funding for Mencap, that support is no longer available for young people with special needs.
These are the consequences of Tory policies for young people who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.
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