Disabled kids are being told free transport is an unaffordable luxury
canada goose uk black friday Ben Randle and his mum Sharon Randle protest cuts to transport outside Coventry Town Hall (Image: Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)Get politics updates directly to your inboxSubscribeSee canada goose outlet price our privacy noticeMore newsletters canada goose uk black friday
Parents and their severely disabled children are gathering outside Coventry City Hall. Among them, braving the wind and rain, is 16 year old Sara Grove in her wheelchair.
“We’ve been told we need to pay to continue getting the transport that my daughter has had since she started at the school aged three,” her mum Laura, a universeinsync.com canada goose outlet washington dc student occupational therapist, says. “Where do they expect us to get that from?”
Sara is paralysed from the chest down, and has learning difficulties, epilepsy and scoliosis. As with all teenagers, it’s compulsory for her to attend school until she is 18.
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Canada Goose Online Yet Sara canada goose outlet uk sale is among thousands now being told that free transport to and from specialist schools often many miles away from home is a luxury councils can no longer afford. Canada Goose Online
Other families who drive their children but claim mileage have had their support cut to 45p a mile. Coventry’s local councillors recently rejected proposals to reduce their own mileage rate to the same amount.
canada goose coats on sale Our investigation with the charity Contact found families are fighting cuts to school transport for disabled kids in Coventry, Leicestershire, canada goose factory outlet vancouver West Sussex, North Yorkshire, Leeds, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Suffolk. canada goose coats on sale
Canada Goose Outlet Last week, disabled Labour Oxfordshire councillor Marie Tidball said subsidised transport allowed her to complete her A levels and go to Oxford University. Cutting it, she said, would “devastate families”. Canada Goose Outlet
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Canada Goose online Thanks to a loophole canada goose outlet nyc in the law, funding transport for disabled teenagers over 16 and under five year olds is up to the individual council’s discretion. As councillors struggle to balance the books after rounds of cuts imposed by the Government, disabled children are once again paying the price. Canada Goose online
uk canada goose outlet The loophole also means disabled school age four year olds are canada goose outlet eu losing support. uk canada goose outlet
In Coventry, during what is now the families’ third protest, Seb Bower is waiting wrapped in a blanket in his wheelchair to speak local councillors. But no one stops. “It appears they’re happy to vote for cuts that affect some of the most vulnerable children and families in this city but not to discuss it,” his mum Elaine says.
canada goose clearance “As a single parent carer I’m already struggling. I’m used to making our money stretch but I honestly don’t know how we can do it. And if you don’t, we’re hearing of people being told they could face canada goose outlet bailiffs.” canada goose clearance
Lorraine Wheel’s daughter Rosie has cerebral palsy and a brain condition and has already been denied funding for school transport even though she is only 12.
“There are places on the school bus,” Lorraine, 49, says. “I know because I see it going past with empty seats, but they say I have to drive Rosie. They’ve said that because I have a mobility vehicle like anyone with a child who uses a wheelchair.
“I asked what would happen if my car breaks or I’m ill, and they’ve said, ‘Rosie will use the bus’ so it doesn’t make any sense.
“I know of siblings at the same school where one has got funding for transport and one hasn’t. It seems so cruel.
“As parents we sacrifice a lot and work really hard to get our children the best care canada goose outlet edmonton we can but it feels like we’re being punished.”
Ben Randle, 17, has autism and a severe form of epilepsy. After he began struggling with the school bus, his parents cut their work hours and the family income to drive him to school.
Now they have even canada goose factory outlet seen the mileage they were able to claim cut.
canada goose coats “We get a third of what we used to get,” says his mum Sarah, 47, a medical secretary. “But we’re just expected to manage. The irony is that they are now trying to cut the councillors’ mileage but they’re not accepting it. canada goose coats
“They’re fighting back. Well, guess what? We are too.
“As an NHS worker I haven’t had a pay rise for years and we’ve cut our hours to help Ben get to school, so now we’re losing out again. You have canada goose outlet montreal to say enough is enough.”
Coventry Council has previously said that it is “fulfilling its statutory duties in the provision of post 16 to 18 travel assistance”. It adds: “The contributory charge is a small contribution towards the actual cost of delivering this service and reflects national practice across the country. Where families have evidenced low income, the council has reduced the contribution accordingly.”
Amanda Batten, CEO of Contact, says “more and more disabled children” are being refused school transport. “It is unfair that a young person is expected to be in school or training until 18 but are not given transport to get there once they turn 16,” she says.