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Disabled support group to close in Brighton and Hove
A project supporting families with disabled children is being closed after 30 years.
About 60 families in Brighton use The Children’s Society’s Portage service in the city.
The team’s nine staff and 40 volunteers work to encourage development through play in family’s homes, as well as offer support to disabled teenagers through the Befriending scheme which was set up in 2008.
But now the national charity has decided to pull the service in September as it “refocuses resources” nationally.
Spokesman for the charity Euan Holloway said: “We have made the decision to focus on other areas which would have a greater impact all over the country.
“There are different areas of work we think we can be more effective in fighting injustice, such as child poverty and sexual exploitation.
“We realise this is of little comfort to parents locally.”
Mum Alison Chalu uses the service because her two-year-old daughter has epilepsy and related developmental problems.
She said: “They play with kids and support the parents, through a time, which to be perfectly honest, is awful.
“When you are going between hospitals with your child to have this service, which comes to your house once a week, makes all the difference.
“It’s an amazing service and we’re going to lose the whole lot. I couldn’t believe it when I was told – I was in tears.”
The chief executive of The Children’s Society is understood to be visiting Brighton today to talk to staff, volunteers, families.
Mr Holloway said the charity is working with Brighton and Hove City Council to try and transfer the work to other providers.
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