A service which provides help for parents of disabled children is to be scaled down after losing financial support from Cornwall Council.
Cornwall Face 2 Face is a free and confidential service, run by the disability charity Scope and provided by trained parent befrienders. These are parents who have experience of a disabled child with an impairment or additional need. Befrienders provide emotional support to other parents of disabled children at the time of diagnosis, at times of change or difficulty.
Cornwall Council has decided to end their part of the funding for this service on 31 March 2013 and are consulting with families and reviewing the services they commission. However, Scope will continue to offer a smaller service from April with a grant awarded by the People's Health Trust.
Jane Jones, Cornwall Face 2 Face service manager for Scope, said:
"It's tough to be a parent of a disabled child. But some of the best advice you can get is from people who have been through the same experience. Our Face 2 Face befriending network is based on that principle. We know it makes a huge difference to the lives of parents at a critical time.
"The service is part funded by the council, and that funding is unfortunately coming to an end. I'd like to reassure parents that we will continue to run Face 2 Face in Cornwall. But the council's decision means that we will have less money and resources to support and train parents to help other parents.
"We are doing everything we can to keep things the same, but it's inevitable that we won't be able to do everything we are currently doing."
Scope says that it has more than 60 befrienders across the county, who can offer one-to-one befriending or support through the popular OASIS groups, where parents and carers can drop in for a cup of tea and a chat. The charity also provides the opportunity for parents to train as befrienders and as trainers to help deliver training through its Association of Parent Trainers.
In addition to the core Face 2 Face befriending service, the schemes provide information and signposting to parents and professionals on a range of disability services and issues.
Scope has secured one-year funding for Face 2 Face in Cornwall through a grant from People's Health Trust, using money raised by HealthPerfect through The Health Lottery.