Parents will be given cash to pay for disabled children’s activities

Children with disabilities will be assessed for how much support they need each year for leisure act

Children with disabilities will be assessed for how much support they need each year for leisure activities. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Changes to the way activities for disabled children in Norfolk are funded will give parents more choice, council chiefs insist.

But one parent says she has come across several cases where services given to the youngsters will be cut.

Under the changes - which are being rolled out at the moment, but will not be in full operation until September 2018 - parents will be given money to pay for activities for their disabled children.

At the moment, the activities are provided by the council. But the council says giving parents the money directly to pay for leisure services themselves will mean the children can enjoy a much wider range of activities.

A spokesperson said: 'This is not a cut but a change in what we offer to give families greater flexibility to spend money in the way that will have the most benefit to their families.'

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The budget for the activities will remain the same at £1.7m a year, but that will have to be used for more children as it will include those with autism or anxiety too.

The amount of money given for the child will depend on how many points they score in a questionnaire.

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Those with the highest number of points will be classed as needing the most support and parents will be given up to £13,500 a year.

Around 1,000 children in Norfolk will be affected by the changes.

But one Norfolk mother, who did not wish to be identified, said the changes meant there would be cuts to services rather than more choice.

'I am aware of many parents and carers who now sit looking at drastic cuts to the current package of support they receive, with budget figures being given that are far less than that which currently covers the support they receive,' she said.

'In some parts of the county the Local Offer offers nothing to purchase with the new budget they are awarding.

'It is my prediction that all this will lead to more families in crisis, more families facing isolation and more children with disabilities accessing less in the community.'

A council spokesperson added: 'If parents cannot find a provider we can assist with brokering packages for them.'

The council said residential short breaks would be not affected by this change.

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