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Acorn House in Dumfries, a respite centre for kids with profound and complex disabilities, will resume services later this month.

The facility, which is based in Dumfries, provides overnight residential care. It has been closed since lockdown in March, leaving some families struggling to cope.

Dumfries and Galloway Health & Social Care announced the news in a letter to parents this week. It said that limited services were scheduled to resume in the week beginning 24 August as long as infection control measures were fully in place.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine said,

“I’m very pleased to hear that respite services at Acorn House are set to resume later this month. The families that rely on these services are the most vulnerable in society so it’s vital that their needs are prioritised.

“I’ve been in regular contact with some of the families since the beginning of lockdown so I know how desperate they’ve been to have this lifeline back up and running – some of them haven’t had a break for over five months. Some parents have told me there’s been a lack of communication from the authorities up until now which led them to fear the centre would remain closed permanently. The news that Acorn House is set to finally reopen will therefore come as a huge relief to them. I note that the short breaks service continues to be reviewed. It is essential that families like these get meaningful respite which offers a real break from their caring responsibilities.”

Cllr Stephen Thompson, chair of D&G Council’s Social Work Committee, added,

“Having been contacted by service users, I’ve been asking the Council’s Chief Social Work Officer to provide the necessary updates on how respite services can continue to be provided in these difficult times.

“There’s no doubt that re-opening Acorn House requires assurances that the very significant risks to both very vulnerable service users and staff can be properly mitigated and managed.

“That said, this news can’t come soon enough for some, and the health and social care teams will continue to work hard to ensure our most vulnerable people are supported.”