Campaigners rejoice as Meldreth Manor School saved from closure

PUBLISHED: 11:07 18 November 2015 | UPDATED: 16:50 18 November 2015

From left to right: Karen Sheairs, Amanda Campbell, Paula Morrison, Heidi Allen MP, Josh Campbell and Rian Morrison.

From left to right: Karen Sheairs, Amanda Campbell, Paula Morrison, Heidi Allen MP, Josh Campbell and Rian Morrison.

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A campaign group which has fought passionately to save a special school and transition service from closure is today celebrating after receiving confirmation that it will stay open.

Parents were informed by disability charity Scope that a new provider, The Aurora Group, has agreed to take over services at Meldreth Manor and Orchard Manor.

Campaign group Save Meldreth Manor was founded by local families in July after the charity announced plans to close the facility in March. The group has nervously been awaiting the fate of the school ever since the consultation period ended in early October.

A special school, respite centre, children’s residential home and young persons’ transition service, both Meldreth Manor and Orchard Manor provide care and specialist services for profoundly disabled children and young people from across the country.

The group recently delivered a petition with more than 6,600 signatures to No 10 Downing Street, after months of campaigning.

Amanda Campbell, whose 10-year-old son Josh regularly attends Meldreth Manor for respite care, said: “This is such a massive relief for us and all those affected by the potential closure. This has been an agonising few months and we cannot express enough the joy this news has brought us.”

The campaign has attracted widespread support through social media, including 2,500 Facebook members, more than 400 followers on Twitter and online support from celebrities such as actors Nick Frost and Warwick Davis, as well as singer Peter Andre.

James Watson-O’Neill, director of services at Scope, said: “In July 2015, we made a proposal to close Meldreth Manor School and Children’s Home and Orchard Manor Transition Service. Following the consultation on this proposal, Scope’s board of trustees has made the decision to sell the services to an alternative education and care provider.

“We will be working closely with Aurora over the coming months to transfer the services to them in February.

“The Aurora Group is committed to continuing to run Meldreth Manor and Orchard Manor. On successful completion of the sale, all staff and young people will be able to stay at the services if they wish to.

“Our priority continues to be the education, care and support of each young person at these services. We would also like to thank our staff for their continued hard work and dedication over the year.”

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