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Irwin Mitchell Co-Hosts Fringe Event At Conservative Party Conference

Organisers Call For Ring-Fencing And Protection Of Vital Respite Services


Law firm, Irwin Mitchell, in conjunction with Caudwell Children and Acorns Children’s Hospice, is holding a fringe reception at the Conservative Party Conference, to highlight the need to ring-fence and support residential and short break respite services, which enhance the quality of lives for families with disabled children.

Delegates at the event will hear about the vital role that respite services play in helping to reduce family breakdown and the need for expensive social care and medical intervention.

Mandy Luckman, partner at the Midlands offices of Irwin Mitchell, says: “Many of our clients who care for severely disabled children or vulnerable adults with special needs, tell us that respite care is critical in allowing them to continue in their roles as carers. Sometimes, just one night off a month to enable a carer to have a good night’s sleep or an afternoon out to recharge the batteries can make the vital difference between feeling able to cope or overwhelmed and unable to carry on.” 

Speakers at the Fringe Reception, to be held at Castle Fine Art, Quayside Level 2 of the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, include Anne Milton MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department of Health), David Strudley, Chief Executive of Acorns Children’s Hospice and Jackie Griffiths, Families Ambassador at Caudwell Children.

Trudi Beswick, Chief Executive Caudwell Children: “As a national children’s charity, working with families across the UK, we have first hand experience of the extreme pressure full-time care places on the family unit, and the sometimes devastating effects. 

“In contrast, we have also been instrumental in providing families with short break and family support to alleviate some of these pressures and introduce some additional happiness into family life.

“This event provides an ideal platform for Caudwell Children and Acorns to explain the benefits of respite services and we are excited about working in partnership with such a well regarded charity.”

David Strudley, Chief Executive, Acorns Children's Hospice: “We are just one part of the 40 plus network of local children’s hospices across the UK, providing free care and support for life limited and life threatened children and their families.

“We currently care for nearly 600 children and young people but in our region alone, there is an estimated additional 1,000 more children that could benefit from our support, demonstrating the significant need for respite care. 

“The service we provide helps relieve the huge pressure our families face having to deal with children with complex needs every single day – it’s not unusual for us to be described by them as a vital lifeline.

“Much of our success in delivering these services is a result of working in partnership and we are very excited to be able to put the spotlight on this importance issue and how it can be addressed at this event.”

The mission of those involved in the event include to:
o promote and deliver volunteer-led short break respite services, ensuring families with disabled children gain access to leisure facilities
o promote early intervention via charity and not-for-profit community organisations – preventing costly social care and medical intervention in later life
o engage with the ‘Big Society’ to promote and deliver volunteer-led projects

“The effort and emotion invested by carers should not be taken for granted as they are pivotal to the lives of those for whom they care,” continues Mandy. “We are therefore keen to co-host this reception to highlight their essential work and ask Government ministers, MPs and local authorities to safeguard respite services.”

o Over 25% of lone parents have a disabled child
o 53% of parents of a disable child have reported relationship problems or breakdown
o 73% of disabled children have no access to leisure or days out
o respite helps to
o  sustain family carer health and wellbeing
o avoid or delay out-of-home placements
o reduce the likelihood of abuse and neglect

Acorns Children’s Hospice is a charity offering a network of care for life limited and life threatened children and young people, and their families, across the heart of England.  These children and young people are not expected to reach adulthood and require specialist care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. www.acorns.org.uk