Lochside in Lerwick has been chosen as the preferred site for a £1.7 million short-break care home for children and young people with special needs, but there are currently no SIC funds earmarked to build it. The site was considered the best among 11 places in town assessed by Richard Gibson Architects.
The six-bedroom centre is intended to be central and close to amenities for users who are not able-bodied. There is also a plan to spend £550,000 refurbishing Laburnum House in Burgh Road to provide short breaks for children with special needs who have no mobility problems, such as those with autistic spectrum disorders. Councillors on the SIC services committee were told last Thursday the two centres could cost £860,000 a year to run.
The need for specialist care is increasing because more children with profound and complex needs are surviving into adulthood and more children are being found to have autistic disorders. A new service is also needed to help provide relief from suffering for children and young people and care for those who are dying.
In a recent prioritisation exercise the two special needs care buildings were ranked 15 out of 23 projects on the service committee’s capital programme, behind schemes totalling £11m, such as Mid Yell school, Mareel, replacing Leog children’s home and various rolling programmes in housing, occupational health and old people’s care. They could move further up the waiting list if they fare well when considered soon by the member/official working group which decides spending priorities.