Closure threat rocks parents

BRIDGET RAILTON
Last updated 05:00 05/05/2014
alana
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
WANTING ANSWERS: Alana Turnhout with her son Jack, 14.

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Parents whose children attend Windmill Specialised Care programme are bewildered it could close because of a lack of demand and are angry at the lack of communication.

Invercargill mum Alana Turnhout, whose 14-year-old son Jack attends the programme, said she was "shocked" to hear it was threatened by a lack of demand.

"I couldn't get my son in [to the holiday programme] this week, they said it was too full," she said.

The Windmill Specialised Care programme is a holiday, weekend and after-school programme for children with autism, intellectual or physical disabilities.

Access Home Support, which runs the programme, confirmed last week the service was being reviewed to see if it was still viable.

Access chief executive Graeme Titcombe told The Southland Times on Tuesday it was a matter of whether there were enough people using the service and they were going through the consultation process with affected parties.

He could not be contacted on Friday.

However, Turnhout said there had been no communication with her so far.

"We should have been told it was under review. I had to find out in the paper."

Her son Jack had been attending Windmill since it began in 2010 and it would leave a huge gap if closed, she said.

"When the programme started I was so happy, it was a huge help and I know I'm not the only parent who said that," she said.

Fellow parent Craig Coster, of Winton, whose son attends, also said he had not been informed.

His son had also been going since Windmill started, and would be devastated if it ended, Coster said.

"If he were allowed, he would go every day."

Even now he would be looking at the schedule for next holiday's programme and ticking off the classes he wanted to attend, he said.

A meeting was scheduled for Wednesday at Windmill and parents hoped they would be given more information.

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- Fairfax Media

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