Campaigner Hails Legal Pressure As Council sees SENse on Lancashire Break Time
As campaigners celebrate Lancashire County Council (LCC) shelving proposals to end its Break Time Service for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), a local mum has highlighted the campaign’s legal pressure as a key factor in their success.
St Anne’s mum Nikki Kimber helped launch a crowdfunding appeal to mount a legal challenge should the service be scrapped. The appeal gained a lot of local support as concerned parents joined together to save the scheme benefitting children in the region.
Lancashire Break Time provides short breaks for parents or carers of young people with SEND and can take the form of evening, weekend and holiday clubs lasting at least two hours.
Following correspondence with specialist law firm Irwin Mitchell which is supporting the campaigners, it was announced that the plans have been shelved and Break Time will continue for now, although campaigners remain concerned for the long term future.
Commenting after the announcement by the Council, Nikki Kimber, the mum at the heart of the campaign said: “The Council reconsidered the funding cut this week and hopefully we can rework a better short breaks provision between now and March 2020 that can continue in the future without threat of closure. I’m confident the change of heart at Lancashire County Council came about because of the work put into the legal challenge, so I would like to thank James Betts at Irwin Mitchell for his support and for encouraging me to follow it through.”
Expert Opinion“This is a great outcome for Nikki and all those who are campaigning to stop attempts to cut SEN funding. The support for the crowdfunding appeal and the hundreds who responded to the public consultation shows how much the issue matters to local people. Hopefully now LLC, parents, carers and providers can work together to reach a consensus over future provision.” James Betts - Associate Solicitor