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Families fear closure of respite centre on Hayling Island

Kathie Tong (pictured on the right) with her daughter Sam who uses Orchard Close Photo: ITV

Families and carers using a respite centre helping people with disabilities in Hampshire have said its closure would have a “devastating effect” on their lives.

The future of Orchard Close is in question following a three-month public consultation started by Hampshire County Council in September.

Kathie Tong and her 43-year-old daughter Sam, who have used the centre for years, were told the 13-bedroom building was under threat of closure.

Council officials say closing the centre, which offers short seaside breaks for adults with physical and learning difficulties, would save half a million pounds.

Orchard Close on Hayling Island Credit: ITV

Executive Member for Adult and Social Care, Councillor Liz Fairhurst, has said more people want "alternative respite care options" and that Orchard Close has a "comparatively low occupancy rate".

Hampshire County Council are gauging public views on Orchard Close's future Credit: ITV

As a local authority, we want to support people with their individual choices, many of whom opt to take a personal budget and to make their own respite arrangements.

With people choosing different options for support, the average occupancy of rooms at Orchard Close is comparatively low. This, coupled with the age of the building which makes it difficult to support people with complex disabilities, means that closure of the property is now being proposed."

– Cllr Liz Fairhurst, Adult and Social Care Executive, Hampshire County Council

However parent carers like Amanda Coker, whose 21-year-old son regularly visits Orchard Close, say the centre is vital.

She says alternative respite care "isn't suitable".

The consultation on the future of Orchard Close ends on Friday 21 December.

A final decision on the centre’s future is due to be made on 27 February next year.

  • Watch Richard Jones' report below