Parents of disabled children join Sparkle new centre call

The families backing the campaign say the services currently provided there are far inferior to those in the south of the region.

"Why shouldn't we have the help and support that we deserve for our children?” asked Helen Vaughan, campaign spokesperson and mother of a severely autistic teenager.

"We, as parents, know how badly this facility is needed for our children. We support the building of a children's centre in north Gwent."

Their calls follow a report by charity Sparkle, which identified an urgent need for the creation of a new children's centre in northern areas[1].

That centre, if built, would bring together services for children with disabilities under one roof, in the same way they are currently provided at the Sparkle-run Serennu Children’s Centre, in Newport.

The study highlighted a high proportion of children living with disabilities living in Blaenau Gwent and the north of Caerphilly county borough and Torfaen.

Currently, to access treatment, they have to travel to Monmouthshire or Newport.

The northern areas highlighted have significant pockets of deprivation and many families struggle to access the facilities, campaigners argue.

A site has already been identified, with road and rail links and which is close to further education college, leisure centre and school.

"We just need to convince the powers that be that this will be a hugely beneficial project to the people and communities of north Gwent, which is an area of high deprivation and for that we need the support of as many parents as possible," said Mrs Vaughan.

The report also found shortfalls in Gwent’s transition services for young people with disabilities, as they make the move from child to adult services.

The proposed new centre would include a transition hub to help older children as they become young adults.

"At the moment, once a child turns 18, most of the support given to children with complex needs disappears,” Mrs Vaughan said. “This causes parents like us many sleepless nights, on top of all the other worries about our children.”

Calls for better provision have also been backed by Nick Thomas-Symonds, the Torfaen MP.

He said: “I have visited the Serennu Children’s Centre and have seen first-hand their state-of-the-art facilities for children and young people with disabilities as well as the wonderful care staff provide.

“I know that services for families in the north of Torfaen is an important issue, and I will continue to support calls for the best possible provision to be available.”

Any parents wishing to support the campaign should visit the Facebook group called ALN and Disabilities Action Group/North Gwent or email [email protected]


  1. ^ a report by charity Sparkle, which identified an urgent need for the creation of a new children's centre in northern areas (