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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

"Caring Jersey - Don't Really Give A Damn"

A Jersey family is fighting for funding so their autistic son can go to a specialist school.

21-year-old Martin Bellows suffers from a severe form of autism, which his parents say has got worse since he left school.

They are intent on finding a better life for him in the UK. But the authorities here say there's no need as the facilities for autism sufferers on the island are of a very high standard.

Mum Angela & stepfather Mark
 Martin's family disagree.

Their son has only ever spoken a few words due to his severe autism, but now he doesn't speak any, and hasn't done so for four years.

His parents say he would benefit from day to day further education in the UK, something that's not available in Jersey.

Mum Angela and step dad Mark have a place lined up for Martin this September at a college in the UK but can't accept, because the authorities in Jersey won't pay for him to go, despite it potentially working out cheaper than him staying in Jersey.

Mark said: "He is a Jersey born person, he is Jersey, his passport says Jersey, he's from this island. They have a responsibility to look after him, he's part of their culture. They don't care about him. As far as they're concerned, he can go to England - another one they don't have to bother with, another one they don't have to fund. But they are wrong. They are going to fund it, it will be my life's work to make sure they do it."

Martin's stopped going to the day centre on the island that cares for autism sufferers because he's not progressing, according to Angela and Mark, and often not mixing with people his own age.

Social Services completely refute the claims made about the day centre, insisting facilities are of a high standard, have improved significantly over the last few years and there's no need for autism sufferers to go anywhere else.

1 comment:

  1. Ian.

    My heart goes out to this family. Not wishing to sound too pessimistic, but our government have got form when it comes giving (or not) children the care that they need