AN ACCRINGTON mum believes a care centre’s closure would force her to put her profoundly learning disabled son into full-time care.

Overnight care at Hargreaves House in Oswaldtwistle is the only break some parents of disabled children have from their caring duties.

Lancashire County Council is in the early stages of proposals which could see it close.

Without the seven nights’ rest distributed over six weeks, mum Pamela McCullagh receives, she says she would be unable to cope.

The 36-year-old provides round-the-clock care for her 16-year-old son Matthew Wilcock.

Matthew has Angel-man’s Syndrome which means he has the mental age of an 18-month-old and sleep disturbances.

Matthew, who also has epilepsy and autism, has been using the centre for 10 years.

Pamela said: “At home, Matthew needs feeding, chan-ging 24 hours a day. He has no awareness of danger so he has to be watched carefully.

"It is physically and mentally draining but a break makes all the difference.

“For Matthew the centre is fantastic. Without it, I would need to find a carer, willing to work odd shifts here and there and who has a bedroom for him.

“He has autistic behaviours which means he needs routine. There are lots of autistic children at Hargreaves House who won’t go to new places, you just can’t expect them to stay there.

“New environments make them go into a spiral.”

The part-time self employed saleswoman said 20 families who use the centre had written to Lancashire County Council, warning their children would have to go into full time care without it. Pamela said: “It’s a false economy.

“They don’t seem to understand carers like us save the country millions every year.”

County Councillor Susie Charles, cabinet member for children and schools, said: “I understand how important our respite care services are and because of this we are involving parents and carers well before we reach the stage of formal consultation.

“The county council must make savings of £179m over the next three years and all service areas are coming under scrutiny."