North-East parents face an anxious three-week wait to discover the fate of a Gateshead children’s care centre.
Grove House, in East Park Road, could face closure in light of budget cuts by Gateshead Council.
The council aims to offset an estimated funding gap of £50 million over the next two years due to government cutbacks.
The centre offers specialist overnight residential breaks for disabled children, young people and their families.
A team of specialist staff cater for children aged between eight and 18, with a physical or learning disability associated with complex health needs.
But the popular centre, which has been rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, may have only weeks left to survive.
Sue Poad, manager at Grove House, claims that it would be “heartbreaking” if the centre was closed.
She said: “Grove House is a lifeline for some families. It can be very difficult at times for families with disabled children, so to be able to come to a place like this is very important.
“It would be devastating if we had to close.”
More than eight thousand people have signed a petition urging the council to keep the centre open.
“You can see how important the centre is by looking at the public response.
“We have had tremendous support from a lot of people,” added Ms Poad.
Initial budget proposals indicated that £280,000 would be saved through the closure of Grove House.
Alison Elliot, Gateshead Council’s Interim Strategic Director for Care Wellbeing and Learning, said: “We’ve recently undergone a consultation on budget proposals to help meet an estimated funding gap of £50 million over the next two years.
“We’re currently considering all responses before any decisions are made at our Cabinet meeting on February 23.
“We remain committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our communities, but when we’re facing funding pressures of this scale. It’s likely that there may be changes to services that people hold dear.”
In the meantime, the petition to save Grove House was heard in full at a Gateshead Council meeting on February 4.