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Politicians Join The Fight
A joint statement from Lanarkshire MP's and MSP's read: “We are calling on both councils to delay the closure of the ‘One Stop Shop’ in Motherwell and provide interim funding until alternative provisions are in full working order.”
Lanarkshire-based MSPs and MPs have this week called for a delay in the closure of a valuable service that helps families across Lanarkshire cope with autism.
The move follows complaints from parents and users of the ‘One Stop Shop’ in Motherwell that alternative facilities either are not available or will not be ready in time.
Currently, South Lanarkshire Council have proposed to establish their own ‘One Stop Shop’, however, the details have been criticised by parents.
North Lanarkshire Council have proposed to continue their support for HOPE, another charity that provides support for people with autism. However, concerns have been raised around waiting lists and costs.
A joint statement has been issued by a number of SNP politicians — Christina McKelvie (MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse), Angela Crawley (MP for Lanark and Hamilton), Margaret Ferrier (MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West), Aileen Campbell (MSP for Clydesdale), Claire Haughey (MSP for Rutherglen), Marion Fellows (MP for Motherwell and Wishaw), Clare Adamson (MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw), Lisa Cameron (MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow) and Linda Fabiani (MSP for East Kilbride).
It read: “The treatment and support of those with autism spectrum disorder and their families is too important to risk.
“With only weeks until the ‘One Stop Shop’ is due to close, both local authorities have yet to produce concrete detail of alternative facilities.
“We are therefore calling on both councils to delay the closure of the ‘One Stop Shop’ in Motherwell and provide interim funding until alternative provisions are in full working order.”
The facility is due to close on Friday, June 3.
This week the SNP opposition group on North Lanarkshire’s Council said they would back the campaign to save Scottish Autism’s Lanarkshire ‘One Stop Shop’ in Motherwell.
SNP group leader, Councillor David Stocks, said: “These autism ‘One Stop Shops’ were set up by the Scottish Government with three years of funding. They have proven invaluable to the families who rely on them for vital support. Councils in Fife, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Ayrshire, Glasgow, Perth and the Highlands are still supporting their local ‘One Stop Shops’.
“Sadly, North and South Lanarkshire councils propose to withdraw support and let the Motherwell ‘One Stop Shop’ close in June.”
He continued: “North Lanarkshire Council proposed to support autism through HOPE. However, HOPE provides a different set of services from the autism ‘One Stop Shop’.
“Over 1500 parents, children and professionals use the Motherwell autism shop. It provides aspects of help which HOPE does not. HOPE has no support for adults with autism.
“Seven councils have decided to maintain support for the autism ‘One Stop Shops’. It’s time North and South Lanarkshire councils followed their example. North Lanarkshire Council have to accept that a mistake has been made and end a situation where this family support centre will close.”
North Lanarkshire Council agreed to meet with all interested parties to examine the autism strategy for the area.
Councillor Paul Kelly, depute leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said: “It’s clear that we need to get everyone round the table to map out a way forward. Regrettably, some of the language used on social media, and some of the political opportunism brought to bear on the issue of ‘One Stop Shop Autism’ inflamed the situation.
“The result of this, and my great fear, is that children and adults who need support are being forgotten, and I am not prepared to let that happen. That is why I will be contacting all parties to attempt to start a constructive dialogue.”
Brenda Hutchinson, social work head of service for South Lanarkshire Council, said: “To be clear, there will be a One Stop Autism Shop for South Lanarkshire and we are working hard with parents to ensure it not only provides continuity of service but, in fact, that the support it offers will be developed and improved, including better integration with other support services in the area for people with autism.
“We have made this clear commitment because national funding is about to cease for the Lanarkshire One Stop Autism Shop, and it has been confirmed that the continuation of a pan-Lanarkshire service is not an option.”