Family face big decisions if care workers are axed

Joel, Joanne and Jake Booth Albert Street, Mytholmroyd.
Joel, Joanne and Jake Booth Albert Street, Mytholmroyd.

AS he sits playing with his toys, picking up the remote to search for Peppa Pig on the TV, Jake Booth is just like any other three-year-old.

But Jake isn’t the same as most toddlers.

He has learning difficulties and epilepsy means he has severe fits fortnightly. He also has weekly “drop seizures”.

Around 18 months ago he started attending Cherry Tree Private Day Nursery, Halifax, and was given nine hours of help from a care worker – funded by the Pre-school alliance, through Calderdale Council.

Since then, his development has come on leaps and bounds.

His proud parents can’t praise the nursery, or his support worker, enough.

“They have bent over backwards for us,” said Joanne.

Now, as part of the cuts the Booth family, of Mytholmroyd, face losing the support workers.

His parents would then have to either find enough money to privately fund a care worker, or one of them quit their job and stay at home full-time.

“He couldn’t really stay at the nursery as it’s not fair on the staff,” said Joanne, 37, a civil servant.

“Just because he’s got learning difficulties he should still have the same chances as somebody who doesn’t.”

“He was given a chance, but now that could be taken away,” said Joel.

“Surely children’s welfare should be the last thing we cut?” he said.

But the sympathetic parents know they’re luckier than some. “There will be people out there who are in a worse position than us,” said Joanne.