Essex Council respond to concerns over Maple Centre closure

A SENIOR Essex County Councillor has responded to protests and concerns over a respite centre in Harlow.

Cllr Dick Madden, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “The number of families that use residential respite care in Essex has fallen. The change to respite provision at the Maples Centre in Harlow is in response to this reduced demand.

“Having two fully-staffed flats which are open but under-used is not ideal and limits our ability to develop other services for parents. The decision to temporarily provide services from one flat at the centre allows us to maintain our current level of operation and offer short breaks for all families receiving care at the Maples. No families will be left worse off as a result of this change.

“Staff at the centre and families using the service have been informed about these plans, and we continue to engage with special schools in the area and the Essex Family Forum to address any concerns they may have. We have also written to local MPs to factually brief them on the situation.

“Our priority is to continue providing a high quality, efficient and responsive respite service that supports children and young people to thrive.”

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