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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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Activity provider is blasted for ‘failing’ Millom families

AN organisation that provides services for disabled children has been blasted after claims it failed to deliver in Millom for “months”.

West House is paid £100,000 a year by Cumbria County Council to provide a short breaks service to carers of disabled children in Allerdale and Copeland.

West House is in the first year of a three-year contract to provide the service – a statutory requirement for local authorities – but a group of parents and carers in Millom say some of the cash would be more effectively used by their group.

Jonathan King, from Duke Street, is the parent of a child with profound autism and a founder member of Millom Parents and Carers Disability Group.

He said West House had been providing a youth group at Millom’s Children’s Centre until around six months ago.

He said: “We represent around 80 parents and carers in and around Millom, and no-one has seen, heard or done anything with West House for months. We are providing the service they are supposed to provide.”

MPCDG is set to host swimming, horse riding, baking and other events during the February half-term costing around £330, which Mr King says will “clear” the group’s funds.

Mr King said he contacted Mark Swanston at West House for an update on what services were on offer in Millom.

In an email seen by the Evening Mail, Mr Swanston replied: “All the families we have information about regularly have letters and information sent out regarding all our trips and residential breaks and we have not had a single enquiry.”

However Mr King says only one member of the group received a letter from West House, despite dozens giving their details to the group at an open day last year.

A county council spokesman said: “To date West House has delivered 8,500 hours of activity of the 12,700 hours they are contracted for this year (2013/14).

“The council monitors contracted service providers carefully and we are happy West House have been delivering services as per their contract. However, we are aware of Mr King’s concerns and we are meeting with him, and representatives from West House, to discuss the issues he has raised and find a positive way forward.”

Cathy Parker, operational director at West House, said: “I can confirm that West House has been in recent contact with Mr King and we have arranged to meet on February 25.”

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