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.

Our third story is that of Rebecca Spencer:

Our story starts with James, then aged 7, being diagnosed with epilepsy, A.D.D and aspergers syndrome.

Being a single mom of four young children with James being the eldest, with his complex needs there was nowhere for me to get any respite.

There were no schools willing to take him within the UK, they wouldn’t home school him due to the risk factors and even social services wouldn’t help.

By the age of 10 I was almost housebound and had no quality time with any of my children. It finally took me the threat of leaving him on social services doorstep with his bags packed to get any sort of respite, fortunately Charles House came to the rescue.

With his complex needs it emerged that even Charles House had to close to other service users for the time he was there and even though I felt awful for the loss these people endured, I really needed it to enable me to keep my family as one during this difficult time.

It enabled me to spend some quality time two weeks for two years with his younger siblings.

When it all became too much there was a disabled children’s home (Camborne House) which then helped me through his teenage years and into adulthood.

Now James is a 19 year old man and even though he still has many difficulties we can now progress as a family and he is in college and learning a trade which will hopefully enable him to work.

Without both of these I doubt if we would have survived as a family and could never express the amount of gratitude for them both.



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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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