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New help for Norfolk families with disabled children

PUBLISHED: 07:54 08 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:29 02 July 2010

Kate Scotter

It can sometimes be difficult for parents of disabled children to find time to themselves, or even to do simple tasks like grocery shopping - but now a new website has been launched designed to help give families a bit of respite.

It can sometimes be difficult for parents of disabled children to find time to themselves, or even to do simple tasks like grocery shopping - but now a new website has been launched designed to help give families a bit of respite.

The new online facility, www.time-for-me.org.uk, has been developed with parents and families in Norfolk to help them to find short break services to suit their needs in an easy-to-use way.

Short breaks give disabled children and their families a break from their caring responsibilities and can be anything from a few hours to a full weekend, and can take place in or away from the home.

The new website is part of a project to transform short break services in the county, delivered by a partnership, including Norfolk County Council, NHS Norfolk, NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney and voluntary sector organisations.

It has been welcomed by users of short break services.

Michelle Mould, 48, from Long Stratton, has a 15-year-old daughter, Roseanna, who is autistic.

Mrs Mould, who is married to poultry exporter Dave and has a son, Joshua, 16, is cares for Roseanna full-time and home educates her.

She currently uses Crossroads Care, which provides short breaks, and has been “impressed” with the service provided.

Mrs Mould said: “It's nice to have a break sometimes. I have someone come in for me and they look after my daughter. It means I can get my shopping done because Roseanna hates shopping, which can make going to the supermarket a bit of a nightmare.

“It means I can also go and have my haircut or a pedicure…and have some 'me time'.”

“The time-for-me website is very easy to use and is a great way for families in Norfolk to find out about the short breaks available to them.”

The website has been funded by the Government's transformation programme Aiming High for Disabled Children (AHDC).

It is the latest development to the Norfolk Short Breaks transformation programme, which is now entering its third year.

Shelagh Hutson, the county council's cabinet member for children's services, said: “This is clearly an excellent service both for the parents of young people with disabilities and for the children themselves - whose lives can be enriched by the new opportunities they encounter.

“It provides parents with a break from the devotion and dedication they give their children - something they deserve and we should all welcome.”

As part of the AHDC initiative, Norfolk has been allocated more than £7m over three years to transform services for families of disabled children and young people.

For more information about short break services in Norfolk and to find out how to access a short break to suit your needs, visit www.time-for-me.org.uk or call 01603 714185.

Do you wish to highlight a service that is improving people's lives? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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