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RNIB Cymru calls on Newport council to reverse decision to withdraw from Sencom

RNIB Cymru is joining forces with other sight loss organisations in Wales to challenge a decision made by Newport City Council to withdraw from the Sencom service. This service gives support to children with sensory and communications needs across Gwent from birth until the age of 19.

The council has proposed a replacement service, though we have a number of concerns over the impact this may have on children and young people with sight loss in the Gwent area.

Our primary concerns are:

  • Newport City Council’s failure to consult with families and organisation on the impact their withdrawal from the Sencom service could have. In addition we believe there has been a failure to properly assess the scale of the new service required, which leaves local children with sight loss and their families with a worryingly uncertain future.
  • Children with sight loss and their families require specialist support. Providing adequate services in early life builds resilience and lead to less isolation later in life as well as ensuring children and young people with sight loss have the same access to education, and support to live full and healthy lives.
  • The Sencom service has been considered a best practice model of regional working and has operated for almost 35 years. Withdrawing from this service will also negatively impact neighbouring authorities, potentially leading to a postcode lottery of provision in south east Wales.
  • Charities are calling for decision to be reversed and for councillors to vote against the decision.