Fife families dependent on a care service to help support their children with learning disabilities have been left in the lurch after Fife Council cut the lifeline resource on Friday.
The Lend A Hand service, managed by ENABLE Scotland on behalf of Fife Council provided respite care and befriending services to children and young people with additional support needs across Fife.
Volunteers and families were shocked the Lend A Hand would be discontinued with only a months notice.
Liz Wiscombe, whose son has used overnight respite care for three years, said: “When I was told the service was stopping and there wasn’t another service in place for my son and the other families, I was left feeling numb and in shock. When my son was away with his carer it gave my husband and I a chance to do things with our other kids. Now it has stopped, it is like they have yanked the rug from under us.”
Liz has five other children living with her, including a daughter who is also on the autistic spectrum.
A volunteer, who has been with the organisation for over 15 years said: “It was heart breaking and difficult to hide my own distress when one of the children I support, asked what we were doing next weekend. I had to say I would not be seeing them as the service was changing.
“As I do not know why ENABLE has decided to close this service, I was unable to provide an adequate explanation.”
Ian Williams, executive director of services, ENABLE Scotland said: “The Lend a Hand service in Fife was no longer sustainable in its current form. Supporting the needs of people who have a learning disability is a key priority, and we will continue to work with Fife Council to look at other ways to support children who have learning disabilities and their families.
“We would like to thank the carers who have been dedicated to the support of individual children. We are working closely with these great carers to discuss their options if they wish to remain involved with the children they supported.”