A leading community charity has sounded the alarm on the extra pressures put by the pandemic on the families and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Norwood’s chief executive Dr Beverley Jacobson made the warning in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson published in this week’s Jewish News.
The charity supports vulnerable and SEND children and their families as well as people with learning disabilities and autism.
In her letter, Dr Jacobson describes the weekly allowance given to carers (£67.50), irrespective of the number of SEND children looked after, as “pitifully low.”
She also backs an early day motion tabled by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas on 2 June calling for bespoke covid-19 advice to be dispensed to SEND schools and centres and demanding increased funding for respite care centres and carers.
“As a charity that supports children and adults with special educational needs and disabilities, Norwood – one of the UK’s largest Jewish charities – is more than familiar with the issues that have always been there but have been exacerbated by the current crisis,” she writes.
She adds: “As such, it would be a dereliction of our duty if we weren’t to draw your attention to an Early Day Motion that was tabled last week by the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas.
“Norwood believes that this is not a matter of party politics and fully supports this proposal. We are very much hoping that you will too and look forward to seeing this issue raised in the House at the earliest opportunity.”
Since it was tabled last week, the early day motion has gathered support from nine MPs.
Meanwhile, health secretary Matt Hancock marked Carers Week, which ends on Sunday, by giving a “heartfelt thanks to each and every carer, whether paid or unpaid, for all the work they’re doing to support family and friends and loved ones, especially in this time of crisis.”
“Your duty and your devotion to a job that you do with love in incredibly challenging circumstances – they’re a huge inspiration as we work through this crisis together,” he told a daily press briefing on Monday.