A group campaigning for special needs adults has been re-formed amid the uncertainty over the future of the Eric Gray Centre and additional support needs department at the Anderson High School.
Shetland Special Needs Action Group (SSNAG – formerly known as SNAG) is calling on the council to reverse its decision to remove the proposed new Eric Gray Centre from the capital programme and press on with its building without any more delay.
A statement from SSNAG says: “The removal of an Eric Gray Resources Centre new build from capital projects whilst failing to consult with and inform families of the event is a matter of grave concern.
“The corresponding news that the families of young adults with severe/profound physical and learning disabilities have been informed their loved ones must vacate the Anderson High School ASN department, with no identified building to relocate to, has also caused alarm and outrage.”
SSNAG is seeking to publicise the plight of the young adults, some of whom are in their late twenties and have the most complex and disabling conditions. They have been forced to remain at the Anderson High School’s ASN department because the current Eric Gray centre is unsuitable and unable to accommodate them.
Some of the group were forced to remain at primary school until their late teens and early twenties waiting for the Anderson High School ASN department to be built.
“Had the council not delayed, a new Eric Gray building could have been built by now and they would have had a safe, suitable environment to move on to,” SSNAG adds.
SSNAG describes itslef as a group of parents, carers and friends of individuals with ASN that is concerned with the welfare and wellbeing of individuals of all age groups with additional support needs.
Last week the chairman and vice-chairman of the council’s social work committee apologised for the lack of communication which saw Eric Gray users, parents and staff learn of plans for a caravan and camp site at Seafield through The Shetland Times, while the replacement care centre was “put on the back burner.”
They were also told by executive manager of adult services Clare Scott that the ASN department at the Anderson High School was to close to Eric Gray clients in March, though director of children’s services Helen Budge said later that was still subject to negotiation.
The future of the Seafield site is still being discussed with interested parties, the council has also said.