Over the coming days, we’ll be featuring the stories of some families who have, or have had in the past, a child who has benefited from respite care at Charles House in West Heath. We hope this will help the families demonstrate what a vital service Charles House provides as they campaign against the threat of possible closure.

Linda, Rachel and Rachel's grandma: on a 3 mile sponsored walk for Birmingham PHAB Camps in Cannon Hill Park in May

This is the story of Linda Walker from Northfield, whose 16 year old daughter Rachel spends two weeks in every seven at Charles House.

It is 5.30 a.m. and my 16yr old daughter has already been up over 2 hours, thrashed around her bed, my bed and the settee in the living room.

She has no verbal communication and I have addressed all her immediate personal care needs but she continues to be stressed out.

My daughter has Dystonic Cerebral Palsy, Severe Learning Disabilities, Autism and Frontal Lobe Epilepsy.

Just the start of another normal day for us!!

I am a widow on my own with my daughter and to be honest I don’t know how we would have managed without the support of Charles House over the last 12-18 months!!

Charles House is a well managed, highly professional, caring environment that provides short breaks for disabled children with varied needs, some with complex needs.

Parents are happy and at ease to leave their children in the care of Charles House, knowing that they are getting quality care and their individual needs are being well provided for, while they get a chance to recharge their batteries.

Charles House received Outstanding in all areas for their Ofsted Inspection. Staff, who are already highly skilled, are continually updating their skills and expanding their knowledge to  help them provide for  the varied needs of children and teens in their care.

For all of us who need and use the services of Charles House there is nothing that could replace this level of care.

Many of us have nobody else that can look after and manage the needs of our  children for even an hour.

I hope we will not become the next casualties of the cuts and lose this outstanding resource and valuable support!

It is now 8.00 a.m. and we have been up for over 4.5 hours!!!

Many thanks to Linda for sharing her story.

Update 31/10/11 – comment from Rachel’s sister, Shirley Peak:

My sister is a regular service user at Charles House and I am truly horrified at proposals to close it down.

This centre provides essential short term respite for children and young people with learning and physical disabilities and their families; if it were to be closed what alternative will be offered for the families affected???

My Mum depends upon the services provided by the centre and as she lives locally and doesn’t drive alternative arrangements would be more difficult for her and I believe that the impact on my sister would be significant as changes in routine always affect her behaviour and moods.



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If you’re a parent of a child who use, or has used in the past, the facilities at Charles House, please get in touch and tell us your story. 


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