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Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio Station was Sally Lawrence




I am a mother of three children.  Simon, my middle child, is now 31.  He is severely autistic, non-verbal, has epilepsy, complex needs, and challenging behaviour including PICA. He needs 24 hour 1:1 care. At the age of 8 he went to Prior’s Court School in Berkshire, a specialist school for those with severe autism.  He thankfully got a place in their Young Adult Provision when he was 19, so stayed there until he was 26.  
Meanwhile, we were having talks with Surrey County Council about where Simon would go after Prior’s Court as there was nothing appropriate for him back in Surrey, and we were not prepared for him to be sent to live in Yorkshire or any other far-flung county
where there may have been suitable provision.  The council was not interested in setting up anything new in Surrey (even though there were several of his age from Surrey at Prior’s Court) but eventually we persuaded them to do so, and Linden Farm is the result.
In 2015 we set up our charity “The Simon Trust” and agreed to work in partnership with Surrey County Council; they would build the accommodation and we would raise money to provide the “extra essentials” that these young people would need in order to have a meaningful life at Linden Farm.  
We worked flat-out for 4 years with fund-raising events until Covid lockdowns stopped us doing so, and so far we have provided about £200,000 worth of facilities at Linden Farm … a 400 metre cycle track, a Sensory Room, a Cookery Room, bikes, trikes including a side-by-side trike, a large Bike Shed, an allotment with poly tunnels and all the necessary gardening tools and plants that go with it, a roundabout, a swing, a wooden Trim Trail, and more.










Council Ordered to Pay £15,000 After Child Misses Two Years of Schooling Due to Failings

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has instructed North Northamptonshire Council to pay nearly £15,000 due to their errors, which resulted in a child missing two years of education.


Mr and Mrs B lodged a complaint stating that the council had failed to provide a personal assistant for their daughter, Miss K, as outlined in her Education Health and Care (EHC) plan from Summer 2021 to September 2023. This failure meant Miss K couldn’t attend school properly.


Miss K was supposed to have a personal assistant (TA) for one hour each weekday morning to help with learning independent living skills, as stated in her EHC plan. Despite repeated requests from her parents, the council didn’t provide this special educational provision. Even after complaints were made in June 2022, the council failed to act.


It wasn’t until May 2023 that the council began searching for a personal assistant, with one finally starting work in September 2023.


Following an investigation, the Ombudsman found significant faults on the council’s part. They didn’t follow Miss K’s plan, neglected to inform her parents of their decisions, and were slow in addressing complaints.


To rectify the situation, the Ombudsman ordered the council to complete the review of Miss K’s EHC plan promptly and inform her parents of the outcome. Additionally, the council must apologise to Mr and Mrs B and compensate them for the missed support, distress caused, and the time and trouble they faced due to the council’s inadequate response to their complaints.


The council has agreed to comply with these instructions.


The LGO’s findings can be found here:


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