December 9 2013 Latest news:
Tom Bristow, Reporter
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
A parish council which barred a mother from accompanying her diabetic daughter to a Christmas party is reviewing its policy following the ban.
Sam Dade, 40, was told by Hellesdon Parish Council she could not stay with her five-year-old daughter during the council’s Christmas party on Saturday because she was not CRB checked by them.
The professional child minder is CRB checked, but by Norfolk County Council rather than Hellesdon.
Last night the council discussed its disability policy, but took the unusual step of barring the Norwich Evening News from the meeting – despite the fact that this newspaper reported on the case on Monday.
With the press and public banned, there was no word last night over whether the council had reversed its decision.
But it is understood councillors reached an agreement on a decision over whether Mrs Dade could accompany daughter Tilly-Rose.
Mrs Dade said: “They have not got an inclusive policy.
“They are excluding a child who needs a carer. It is not about Tilly anymore.
“They are discriminating against a disabled child from attending a party.
“It should not have come to this.”
Tilly-Rose will now go to a Christmas party held by the Norwich and District Diabetes Youth Group on Saturday at the Gas Social Club on Roundtree Way.
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who spoke to the council about the complaint, said: “This whole issue has become bonkers.
“What is clearly most important is to resolve this without any more distress to the family.”
Despite opposition from some Conservative councillors, the Liberal Democrat group, led by council chairman Karen Petch, voted to hold the meeting behind closed doors.
When challenged by the Evening News on its decision, Mrs Petch said she was barring the press and public because the discussion was about “a very young child and about our policies and procedures”.
She was then told that the story was already in the public domain.
The Evening News also made the point that it would be very unusual to discuss council policy during a parish meeting behind closed doors.
The ban meant that Tilly-Rose’s own mother, Sam, would have been barred from the meeting regarding her daughter.
Last night she supported the Evening News in its challenge: “I have annulled her (Tilly-Rose’s) anonymity by approaching the press, so the press and public should have been allowed to stay,” she said.
“It is a parish council – it should be there for the parish.”
Since appearing in the Evening News, Tilly-Rose has had invites to three other Christmas parties.