Bascraft Way Respite Home - now The Laurels in Huntingdon
Please note that the Respite Home has now relocated
to larger premises in Huntingdon and are now known as "The Laurels".
However, Godmanchester Community Association has continued our support
in view of the assistance provided to local people.
Behind the net curtains of an unprepossessing bungalow in Bascraft Way operates an exceptional care service for some of the most severely disabled children of Huntingdonshire and Cambridge. All the children who stay at the Respite Home have life threatening or life limiting conditions. They suffer from both severe learning difficulties and complex health care needs, many also having sensory impairments.
The children nearly all live at home with their parents who have to cope full-time with the strain of caring for children whose dependency level may be akin to that of a two month old baby even when in their early teens. Opened 13 years ago as an experiment, the main purpose of the Respite Home is to provide a break from each other for both parent and child by enabling the children to stay for 1 or 2 nights at a time.
18 families currently use the service with each child normally staying at Bascraft Way about 5 nights a month, either for a whole weekend or for single night stays during the week. The flexibility the service offers is highly valued by the parents with great efforts being made to provide extra care for children when families are in particular need. The funding is provided through Hinchingbrooke Hospital's integrated childcare services who meet the costs of accommodation and staff.
The Home caters for three children at a time and all beds are occupied virtually every night of the year. Ann Aldred who runs it makes considerable efforts to balance the needs of parents with the compatibility of the children staying together in order to ensure a high quality experience for the children as well as a break for the parents.
In addition to respite accommodation, the Home provides a wide range of activities, particularly during weekend stays. Ann Aldred explained that their main aim is to offer stimulation rather than structured activities. Emphasis is strongly on sensory and musical activities ranging from playing with multi-coloured fibre optic strands to stimulate vision, through to aromatherapy massages providing tactile stimulation and relaxation. Occasionally trips out are arranged during the daytime for larger groups. As with most children McDonalds is a favourite destination, but surprisingly so too is Tesco's with its numerous stimuli of sight, sound and smell!
Godmanchester Community Association has supported the Bascraft Way Respite Home for many years with contributions raised through Gala Week activities. Money has been spent on practical pieces of equipment such as feeding chairs and on specially designed toys to help make the children's visits more fun. We hope to be able to continue to do so with your help.
© 1998 Godmanchester Community Association
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