Nascot Lawn: Families could part-fund St Albans respite centre themselves

The entrance to Nascot Lawn respite centre in Watford. Photo: DANNY LOO

The entrance to Nascot Lawn respite centre in Watford. Photo: DANNY LOO - Credit: Archant

Nascot Lawn families are taking the initiative by offering to fund 20 per cent of the service themselves.

David Josephs with his son Dominic in the garden of their home. Picture: DANNY LOO

David Josephs with his son Dominic in the garden of their home. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Archant

It is hoped the proposal, by Harpenden father-of-two David Josephs, will allow the Watford respite centre, which helps care for disabled children, to continue until at least March 2019, as well as break the current deadlock between the NHS and Herts county council.

David, whose son Dominic uses the service, said: “There will be people who feel Nascot Lawn should be the responsibility of the local authority, and the NHS.

“We feel it’s their responsibility as well, but the reality at the moment is neither of them are really trying to save Nascot Lawn, just make nice noises.

“What we are proposing is a solution which involves everyone doing a bit of work.”

The proposal involves Herts county council and Herts Valleys clinical commissioning group agreeing by September on a way to continue Nascot Lawn.

To help pay for this, the Nascot Lawn families have offered to raise up to 20 per cent of the estimated £816,000 bill.

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David agrees if the proposal works, the bodies could turn round and ask families to fund more of the service.

The Save Nascot Lawn campaigner said: “I feel it’s a risk worth taking, because we feel rapid action is important, as otherwise the staff will leave.

“So we need to do something quickly, and this is our attempt to trigger people into action.

“This is a temporary solution but if there is an immediate decision to extend until March, I think a least a few of the staff will be able to remain in their posts, and a chance for the various parties to work together and work out how respite care is going to be organised in the future.”

From the meetings he has attended, he says, there is little impression Herts county council are ready to absorb the Nascot Lawn families.

The respite centre was recently given a stay of execution until January while the children are assessed for alternative arrangements.

To help break the deadlock, David has invited county councillors and NHS bosses to meet together and thrash an agreement out.

David said: “It seems absolutely crazy that we, as parents, are having to issue the invites to get the parties together in one room.

“We have met each party individually, we have never had them together.

He says they always have a slightly different version of events, and often attempt to shed any blame.

David says he finds it difficult to describe how he feels about how it has come to this.

“It’s an awful situation to be in, pushing families, who are already struggling, closer and closer to the edge.

“And it’s unbelievably depressing, so I hope the parties can come together and stop this closure from happening.

“If they do not, health and social care provision in Herts will be going backwards.”

Herts Valleys CCG responded: “We have confirmed that we will attend and are working with him to find a suitable date. We don’t want to make any further comment in advance of that meeting.”

Herts county council said it has received the letter, and will be replying with the availability of officers soon.

A statement from the council read: “For children who stay overnight at Nascot Lawn, joint health and social care assessments are being carried out by our children’s services team and CCG colleagues.

“For children between two and four who access day care only, we are working closely with our CCG colleagues to transition them to alternative services.

“The families and carers of these children are automatically entitled to free early education and childcare.

“Health assessments are currently being carried out by HVCCG for these children and where required a social care assessment will also be completed.”

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