A MOTHER is “devastated” she may have to give up her job to care for her disabled daughter full time as support services are being cut.

Sacha Walker and her husband Darren from Hangleton rely on short stay respite care for their 23-year-old daughter Amy, who is registered blind and requires 24-hour care as she has complex needs.

Amy normally receives short stay respite care at the Chailey Heritage Foundation near Lewes.

She stays at the care service, which is a charity, every week between Mondays and Thursdays, and one weekend a month, so that Sacha and Darren can take a break and spend time with their 13-year-old daughter Francesca.

But due to Covid-19 nine beds are being cut from the service, and Amy’s care package could be affected.

Mrs Walker, 48, said: “For the last few years we’ve had a really good routine with Chailey. It all works fine until we got this bombshell. When I read the email I just burst into tears.

“They’ve sent me a proposal for a new care package but that would not come in until September anyway, and it would cut her support significantly.

“It made me really angry as I enjoy my job, but if the situation does not change, Amy has to come first.”

She said under the new plans proposed for Amy’s care package, her daughter would receive 140 nights of respite care per year, compared with the184 nights she currently receives.

Sacha, who works for Martlets Hospice, has been caring for Amy full time with her husband Darren since the lockdown was introduced, as short stay respite care has not been available during the pandemic.

She said: “My husband and I are both key workers and we rely on daycare and respite care for Amy, but these services both stopped because of coronavirus.

“We didn’t sleep properly for the first five weeks of lockdown as Amy was so confused and distressed by what was going on, so I ended up having three weeks off work because of the stress.

“We’re incredibly tired but we had got into a good routine until we had this news.

“Families like us are the forgotten ones – it just feels like the Government has not really thought about people like us during this crisis.”

A spokesman for Chailey Heritage Foundation said: “ Our main priority has been to ensure the safety of the extremely vulnerable young people who live with us on site on a full-time basis, the staff who work with them and keeping the school open for as many day pupils as need it.

“In our residential services we had a number of double rooms where young people would share a bedroom.

“When the Covid-19 outbreak started we had to move all the young people into single rooms to minimise the risk of transmitting the virus between young people and to be able to isolate them if they became unwell.

“Unfortunately, although this has meant we have less capacity across the site, it was an important decision to ensure the young people’s safety.

“Providing respite is the most challenging part of our service.

“It presents the highest risk of exposure and transmission, but with the rate of transmission dropping we plan to resume our respite service and offer short breaks, albeit with less capacity.”

Jackie Hall, director of social care, said: “We know how much families need respite and how challenging this period of lockdown due to Covid-19 has been.

“We had to make some difficult decisions in order for us to restart our short breaks service safely both for young people who live on site and the families who have respite with us.”

Chief executive Helen Hewitt said: “We are committed to supporting families and carers by providing respite on site and through our other services.

“We already had plans to increase capacity so every young person would have a room of their own. Unfortunately the Covid-19 crisis has forced us to make the change to single rooms now.

“As a result, we have not been able to offer the same level of respite to families as before.

“We know how devastating this will be for families and recognise how important it will be to replace the capacity we have lost due to Covid-19.

“We already have designs for a new building but will need the support of the community and our very generous donors to help us achieve this.”

Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group were contacted for a statement.