2:50pm Wednesday 26th October 2011
By David Wiles
A NEW care home for severely disabled and ill children has opened in Penhill, in place of the Tantivy facility in Stanton Fitzwarren.
Buttons, in Cricklade Road, offers permanent accommodation, overnight and short-term breaks and palliative care for children with severe learning disabilities or life-limiting conditions.
The short-term breaks part of the service replaces Tantivy, owned and run by NHS Swindon, which was forced to close after it was announced in 2009 the building – a converted bungalow – did not meet modern standards.
A spokewoman for NHS Swindon said: “It is with sadness that Tantivy welcomed children into the respite centre for the last time on October 10.
“Tantivy was a good service provided by committed staff and valued by parents. There was an event with staff, parents and children to mark the end of an era.”
The new centre is run by John Edwards Care Homes Ltd, whose directors, Dawn Johnson and Tracey Edwards, managed Canons House short break residential service in Devizes.
Dawn said: “We have been very welcomed into Swindon. It was the right thing to do to come to this area because the provision was lacking in Swindon for children’s services.
“We have had some real achievement where we have had six children who are autistic but over a short period they have managed to get into the water in the water therapy centre. If a child isn’t settled there’s no way you could get them in that environment.”
Buttons, formerly a four-bedroom bungalow, opened on September 28.
The home, which is 76 per cent occupied, has three beds for children to live on-site, and two beds to accommodate children on short stays.
It includes a sensory room, a water therapy centre and a safe play area with specialist equipment.
Buttons has to be run by a private provider because the Government has declared one authority cannot both commission and provide such a service.
However, the service will continue to be paid for largely by the NHS, with top-ups from Swindon Council. Buttons prioritises places for children from the Swindon area, but also supports other local authorities.
Mattie Goodfellow, 16, who is autistic, moved in on Monday as a permanent resident after having lived at a care home in the Midlands.
His mother Alison Goodfellow, 49, of Kingshill, said: “He has been up there for three years and now there’s something in the Swindon area. It’s long overdue. He is so happy to be there.”
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