Decision delay on Holloway’s Lough Road Centre for disabled children

The Lough Road Centre, in Lough Road, which provides support for disabled children and their familie

The Lough Road Centre, in Lough Road, which provides support for disabled children and their families, could face closure. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

Parents have been given fresh hope that a centre for disabled children will remain open.

As reported in the Gazette in August, Lough Road Centre in Lower Holloway was earmarked to shut in December.

Islington Council ran a consultation on the plans, but has now delayed making a decision until February.

It comes after more than 5,000 people signed a petition to prevent closure of the centre, which provides learning, social and independent living skills for children with disabilities, as well as respite and support for their families.

Cllr Joe Caluori, executive member for children and families, said: “Their feedback has helped us understand how we can best meet the needs of the majority of those who use the centre’s services.

“It’s clear that more work needs to be done to achieve this and we will ensure that parents and staff are closely involved over the coming months as we come up with new ideas.

“I appreciate this hasn’t been an easy time for those who work at and use the centre and I’m grateful to them for their patience and co-operation.”

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Kelley Waller, 39, of Heather Close, Holloway, uses the centre with her 14-year-old son, who suffers from epilepsy and has cerebral palsy.

She said: “Maybe they didn’t think much of a fuss would be made about it, but we really do rely on this centre heavily.

“It’s great. I can count more on Lough Road than I can on my own family: that’s how much you can fall back on it.

“I think an agreement will eventually be reached with the council, but it needs to be the same service.”

The Lough Road Action Group said in a statement: “We welcome this new phase of consultation and the good intent expressed by Cllr Calouri.

“We are confident that, if the findings so far are anything to go by, this will lead to the only conclusion: to keep Lough Road open and invest in its future as it has been run down in anticipation of it being closed this December.”

But the group added: “We remain anxious and would like to know exactly what is being consulted on at this stage and how it will be done.

“Our fight continues until this sad episode is resolved.”

In the meantime, the centre will continue to provide overnight short breaks for children who already use the service, and help any new parents of children who need overnight residential services to identify suitable alternatives.