PM's help sought for programme

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 00:23 10/05/2014

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Angry parents have confronted Prime Minister John Key demanding answers about the closure of a special care programme.

The Windmill Specialised Care programme will officially close at the end of the month, despite parents saying it would be devastating if the service was lost.

Invercargill parent Tammy Walker, who has two children with special needs, asked the prime minister for help.

"We were hoping for some sort of commitment for our special-needs children."

The solo mother said the closure would make it hard for her to work during school holidays and weekends.

Jackie Munro, a mother of five, said the most needing members of the community were being shunted into the background.

The parents had spoken to Labour leader David Cunliffe earlier this week and said he had been more receptive.

Key, who knew nothing of the closure, could not reassure the parents.

Education funding would be increased in the budget, but it would be up to the education minister to decide where it would be spent, he said.

The parents fronted the prime minister yesterday during his visit to meet mothers and babies at the Windsor Jubilee Hall, as part of his Invercargill tour to open ILT Stadium Southland.

The care programme, run by Access Home Support, is a holiday, weekend and after-school programme for children with autism, intellectual or physical disabilities.

Access chief executive Graeme Titcombe had said the service was under review.

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- The Southland Times

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