Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 11°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Ipswich: Carers are at “breaking point” warns charity

11:55 22 February 2013

Barbara Thorn, chief of Mencap, has warned parents of children with learning disabilities are at

Barbara Thorn, chief of Mencap, has warned parents of children with learning disabilities are at 'breaking point' because of a lack of respite care. Barbara with her children, Ian, Dorothy and John Thorn and Sarah Woods


PARENTS caring for children with learning disabilities are at “breaking point” crumbling under the pressure and desperately in need of more support, an Ipswich-based charity has warned.


More carers are reaching crisis point according to chairman of Ipswich Mencap, Barbara Thorn – herself a carer to three of her adult children who all have Down’s Syndrome.

A report published by Mencap said eight in 10 people who care for loved ones with a learning disability feel they do not get the respite or support they need.

Despite the Government allocating funds for carers to have short breaks from their caring responsibilities, the money was not ring fenced and as a result is being spent elsewhere, the learning disability charity said.

The Short Breaks report claims that 8% of family carers did not receive any short breaks whatsoever in the last year.

Mrs Thorn said it is “vital” ministers ring-fence the money intended for short breaks – a lifeline for many carers.

The mum-of-five, of Norwich Road, said parents were facing more pressures, compounded by the uncertainty over changes to the disability living allowance (DLA) mooted by the Government.

“I think parents are at breaking point,” she told The Star.

“Part of that is the uncertainty over finances, which are all changing. We don’t know what is happening to DLA but the plans are to bring in a universal benefit.

“It is a great worry for me as a mum-of-three in receipt of the benefit.”

She added: “Respite care is a vital commodity for parents and carers, without it many would crumble under the strain.”

In Ipswich the charity operates Burgess House in Felixstowe Road and The Bungalow in Edmonton Road, Kesgrave, offering a total of 12 respite beds.

But Mrs Thorn said both are operating at “full capacity” leaving the charity unable to respond to emergency requests for beds.

“I know of a mum in Ipswich whose son has very complex needs,” she added.

“She has never been offered respite care. I have referred her to the council for an assessment to try and get her some help.

“Being a carer isn’t just a full-time job, it is their life.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “The county council recognises the importance of short breaks and respite care for family carers, which is why we are committed to working very closely with both family carers and respite providers to ensure that the right level of support is provided.

“Many carers benefit from personalised respite budgets which allow them to have greater flexibility and choice when it comes to planning short breaks and respite care.

“If families at some point feel that the level of support offered is not sufficient they are offered a review and there is a option of increasing support if appropriate.”



Police closed Felixstowe Road, Ipswich.

A man has been taken to hospital after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a van.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service called to Foxhall Road, Ipswich.

Firefighters were called to help a young child who got their head trapped between two bollards.

Travellers in Jaywick.

A group of travellers today returned to a site they had previously camped on in Jaywick - but were stopped in their tracks.

The large scale police operation in Potash Road, Wyverstone.

A village stalwart and chairman of a Suffolk parish council hid hundreds of illegal guns in a secret room at his house, a court heard.

The ice skating rink currently being installed in the Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds

Limited parking capacity in Bury St Edmunds is set to be boosted by 420 extra spaces over the festive period after local brewer Greene King offered free use of its staff car park at weekends.

Kujtin Rexha was jailed for 11 years at Chelmsford Crown Court

Braintree man Kujtin Rexha has been jailed for 11 years for rape and holding a 17-year-old girl against her will for two and a half months.

James McAtear, headteacher of Hartismere School

A top headteacher has attacked Suffolk County Council and the Schools Adjudicator.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24