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Respite centre marks fifth anniversary

Centre in Livingston provides support for children with severe disabilities and their families.

This weekend sees the fifth birthday of a centre in Livingston which provides support for children with severe disabilities and their families. Staff at the facility provide a high level of nursing and medical care within a community-based environment. Parents of the youngsters they help say the service has changed their lives.  

The Sunndach centre in Livingston is a place designed to be a home from home for children with severe special needs. Nine families can make use of the facilities at any one time - they include a large sensory garden, a therapy room and a play area. The house can be used for occasional respite or for prolonged periods.  

Sunndach means bright and happy and it has certainly had a positive effect on all those who come here. 

Josie Cameron said: "Since Susan's been here, she's learned to smile again and its made a tremendous difference in her life but also the service has made a difference for the whole family becasue when Susan's here we can spend more time with Paul her little brother so we're truly grateful for the wonderful service they provide." 

David Manlove said: "It's very hard work and this facility has given me the chance to catch up on my sleep, have a bit of me time and time with my oldest daughter because often siblings do suffer when you have children with special needs." 

David Rice added: "It's taken away some of the stress about what Jennifer's future was going to be. She was difficult to look after at home, a real handful because ofher medical needs and just having a custom built place almost on our step is just wonderful." 

The respite residential service enables families to look after their children at home as much as possible, in the knowledge they will get regular breaks from the day to day routine of caring. Staff say the work is emotionally challenging but hugely rewarding. 

Maureen Theurer from the respite residential service of NHS Lothian said: "Many of the children have life threatening conditions and  thats always there in the background but both personally and professionally its a real priviledge to look after these children and their families and we get a huge amount of satisfaction in being able to provide that support for them."  

This weekend Sunndach is celebrating its fifth birthday. Each year has provided a lifetime of memories for the families benefitting from this vital service.

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