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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Parents welcome plans for Mencap centre to be part paid by Carlisle millionaire's bequest

No-one understood the trials of bringing up a disabled child better than city woman Grace Little.

Grace Little Mencap centre graphic
Artist impression of the proposed respite centre

Related: Carlisle secret millionaire's £190,000 bequest to help disabled children

The secret millionaire would have been proud this Tuesday, as plans for a respite centre bearing her name were unveiled by Carlisle Mencap.

The £550,000 Grace Little Centre, at Kingmoor Park, Carlisle, will be the only facility of its type in the area.

It will be funded in part by a £190,000 donation, left to the charity by Mrs Little when she died last January, aged 94. She wanted to thank them for helping look to after her severely disabled son Frank, who died in 2008.

After a donation of land by Brian Scowcroft, of Kingmoor Park Properties, a further £330,000 is needed before building work can start.

Sheila Gregory, executive director of Carlisle Mencap, said the centre would stand as a “concrete memorial” to Grace and her son.

She said: “Unfortunately Frank died before his mum, when she had saved lots and lots of money for his care. She left that money to charities in Carlisle, and we were among the lucky ones.

“That’s how the Grace Little Centre was born. We talked to the children and asked them what they wanted, and they wanted to do what all children want to do, which is to play and have fun.”

The new centre will have four fully-accessible bedrooms and bathrooms, plus a lounge and dining area and staff accommodation. A separate activity wing will have a sensory room, hydrotherapy pool and work room, with play equipment and a patio outside.

Tracey O’Roarty, 39 and her disabled daughter Ellie, 11, went to see the plans launched by Carlisle-based designers Architects Plus.

She said: “Ellie has autism, ADHD and learning difficulties, so it’s difficult for her to access leisure activities. She runs the risk of being quite isolated, because she can’t go out and about and do what most 11-year-olds do.”

At the moment, Ellie never spends the night away from the family home on Pennington Drive, Kingstown, Carlisle.

Her constant need for care means her younger sister is rarely the centre of attention.

A similar problem affects the Tye family, of Newtown Road, Carlisle. Caring for disabled Harvey Tye Junior, 14, leaves parents Harvey and Jacqueline with limited time for their daughter Madeline, 11.

Jacqueline, 42, said: “A centre like this is a win-win situation.

“It’s a nice break for the child with the disability and you know they’re going to be looked after properly.

“It gives you the peace of mind to go off and take part in activities you wouldn’t normally be able to do, with your other children.”

To donate to Carlisle Mencap’s new Grace Little Centre campaign, call 01228 674 393.

Have your say

As the parent to a child with severe disabilities I welcome this facility however I keep reading that it will be the only facility of it's type in the area which is just not true?! Eden House Children's hospice already offer this facility to many children, one of the kids in the article attends. The facility is fantastic and is very likely over subscribed.Surely it would have been more sensible to use the bequest to enhance and perhaps extend facilities which are already up and running and doing a great job? will the same children be invited to attend both facilities? both will require charitable giving and fund raising to continue to operate so I can't see the logic in having 2 facilities that could end up in competition with each other for fundin. Or am I completely missing the point of this new facility???

Posted by nicola on 17 September 2010 at 14:24

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