Campaigners calls for councils to save Motherwell’s autism service 


Shop plays a key role in supporting child services

A CARE SERVICE for autistic children in Motherwell is threatened with imminent closure next month due to biting austerity cuts. 

The ‘One Stop Shop’ (OSS) for children and families who need support relating to autism is the latest victim of Westminster imposed cuts to public services. 

Campaigners in North and South Lanarkshire have called on the councils to do all that they can to save the centre on North Orchard Street, Motherwell.

Karen Noble, from the Campaign to Save the OSS said: “It is my daughter’s birthday wish to keep the OSS open. She is distraught that if the OSS closes the people who have cared for her won’t be there anymore and that replacement is a pale imitation of a fantastic service she has grown to trust. She feels that South and North Lanarkshire Councils are taking everything away from her and this is having a terrible effect on her life and ability to cope. 

“I believe that the best interests of our children have not been the primary interest of either North or South Lanarkshire council considering this decision affects them in every aspect of their life.  No one has asked them how they feel. Their rights should be respected by people in power.”

The closure follows six years of enforced cuts – described as ‘austerity’ – after the financial crash and resulting recession of 2008 onwards.

Campaigners say the centre is the only support for families of children with Pathological Demand Avoidance syndrome in North Lanarkshire.

Campaigners will meet with the council – which points to nationwide budget cuts for a reason behind the closure threat – next week to attempt to rectify the situation. 
East Kilbride Mum and user of the OSS, Gwen Aston added: “Just as Lucy [her daughter] has obtained her diagnosis and begun to experience the support the One Stop Shop can offer, sadly its closure means she, I and the other professionals involved in her care are denied the opportunity to attend invaluable workshops as well as one to one intensive support for autism that would have allowed her to develop coping mechanisms for the every day challenges that will be with her for life. 

“Autism may be a hidden disability, but that should not mean that the council or governments duty of care to provide her with fit for purpose autism support and services that she very much needs, can be ignored. Basically, Lucy is being denied the opportunity to have the best quality of life possible which is very sad and totally unfair.”

The closure follows six years of enforced cuts – described as ‘austerity’ – after the financial crash and resulting recession of 2008 onwards. 

Opponents allege that the Conservatives are intent on shrinking and privatising public services under the allusion of financial management. 

In a statement, North Lanarkshire council leader Jim Logue added: "This issue has been the subject of some disgraceful politics over the last few weeks, which culminated this week in a move to force a special meeting of the council by the opposition group of councillors.
“Rightly, the Provost has ruled that this is incompetent given that decisions about ongoing services for people with autism resides with the joint integration board for health and social care and not the council.
"Now that the Scottish Government have made the decision to withdraw funding for the One Stop Shop it's essential that the focus is on making sure that the plan for autism in North Lanarkshire is robust.

Picture courtesy of Hepingting

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.