Chief executive of a Horsham charity has said that ‘disability does not have a postcode’ after claiming that the town’s area code has led to less funding and less investment to help families when it comes to looking after their disabled children.
Nigel Scott-Dickeson, chief executive of the Springboard Project in Hurst Road, said that those living in the RH12 postcode has led people to believe that money is ‘pouring in’ and that families need less help here than elsewhere in the country.
He said: “The levels of poverty we have found with disability are about 60 per cent and there is a difficulty with us here because we are in a RH12 postcode.
“They think that there is money pouring in through the windows. But disability does not have a postcode.
“It does not matter if these children live in an affluent area or not, they are all children with the same challenges and our postcode significantly counts against us.”
Nigel said that they have had a number of applications at the Springboard Project rejected as they were not in an area of depravation.
“That is a really difficult thing about perceptions of our economy, thinking all people are well off here,” he continued.
“Well, they are not. If you have got disabled children you have significant poverty and also you have more family breakdowns in those family areas.
“You have more difficulty with work, business and with working hours and that impacts on poverty as well.
“There is also the equipment you have to buy, bed sheets you have to buy and so on. The poverty is one thing but then you have the additional costs ramping up on top of that as well.”
But for Nigel it is not just the poverty that people are unaware of when it comes to looking after disabled children in Horsham, it is the lasting impact on family life that very few people hear about.
“You also have some really significant things that go under the radar,” he said.
“The impact on the whole family dynamic where you have siblings who are actually young carers who, again go completely under the radar as they grow up.
“They are helping their parents sometimes with those care needs as well and that is very rarely picked up.
“This impacts on their homework and their social life and they can’t go out with their friends.”
“If you have this disabled youngster that is getting all the attention it is sometimes difficult for them to cope with.
“It can be incredibly depressing for other siblings because they may not have many friends as they can’t have them come round or go round to theirs because of the extra responsibility.
“The whole holistic impact is significant and it does not get picked up.”
Nigel explained what the centre does to try and help with this problem
“The short breaks we provide are very important, firstly to give youngsters some really good opportunities and to give them days out and something to look forward to. Secondly they are important as they give a break to parents so they get to do things like shopping and also spend time with their other siblings because they can sometimes feel desperate and left out.”
Nige lsaid his statistics and information were provided by national charity Contact a Family.