10:00pm Friday 29th March 2013
By Emma Dunn
A MOTHER is encouraging more people to sign up to become respite carers for children with disabilities.
Heather Lolley, of Rodbourne, has been using the Swindon Council family placement team’s home and away scheme for about 18 months.
The scheme sees her 10-year-old son, Zachariah, who has Down’s Syndrome, stay with another family for one day a month to give her a chance to have a rest and catch up on housework.
“My life has been on hold since my son was born, I look after him full time all the time,” she said.
“The home and away scheme gives me a chance to be Heather instead of being a mum.
“I try to catch up with the housework, see family or stay at home and rest.
“It makes a big difference for me. I know that he is safe and he is cared for and I can relax and not worry too much.
“He comes back a different child, he is so happy and I can see the family who look after him absolutely adore him.”
The home and away scheme was set up to enable children with disabilities to enjoy short breaks away from home.
Each child stays with an approved carer in the carer’s home.
This might be for a few hours, an overnight stay or a weekend break, usually on a regular basis, according to what the child and their family need and depending on what the carer is able to offer.
Zach, who is a pupil at Brimble Hill School, visits a family in Pewsey once a month as part of the scheme.
“I like going there, it’s fun. I play with the dog and go to the farm. They are really kind. I look forward to going there,” he said.
A spokesman for the family placement team said: “Pre-planned short breaks with a home and away carer provide them with friendship, support and fun and widen their horizons.
“They also provide their parents with much needed rests from the task of caring for their disabled child, and enable them to spend quality time with other children in the family.”
For more information, contact the Family Placement Team on 01793 465700 or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
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