St Albans mum Donna Sharp, has started a petition and is raising money to open a sensory centre for children with special needs. Picture: Danny Loo
A St Albans mum is fighting to take over services for disabled children from Herts County Council.
A St Albans mum is bidding to take over services for disabled children from Herts County Council.
Donna Sharp, 41, of Drakes Drive, is setting up a sensory centre for disabled children to replace services lost to austerity.
She said: “Herts County Council are not doing enough in terms of services. We cannot access the services we should be able to.
“We are one of the most affluent counties going, yet there is nothing for these children. Local authorities are failing families. “
She highlighted several services for disabled children which have closed, including Nascot Lawn, and one former respite centre which had become a car park.
This week, Donna spoke at an event in Parliament organised by the Disabled Children’s Partnership, a coalition of 50 charities.
Her own son, James Ritchie, attends a school in the city for children with severe special needs.
“He is non-vocal, and that presents its challenges as we have to second guess everything.
“These kids do not know how to go to sleep, My son is six-years-old and still wakes me up.
“We work 100 hours a week and get no support. It’s hard enough to have children and when you throw in disabilities it’s rock hard.
“Parents and carers are at breaking point, so I’m campaigning to open a sensory centre.”
This is a purpose-built facility for children with disabilities and special needs. It is an alternative to a soft-play area, which disabled children can find overwhelming.
Donna said: “It will take pressure off of parents and carers.
“Get the charities in and our children will be looked after from 9am to 3pm for one day a week.”
Learning disability charity Mencap run a similar centre with a sensory room in St Albans.
Donna has already spoken to Gravity Force trampoline park about booking an area for the children.