Push to help disabled kids

Push to help disabled kids

Aubrey Jones with support worker Kelly-Ann Hackett and Levi Jones who attended Lady Lawley Cottage when it was open. Photograph — Aaron Van Rongen

Thousands of people, including local residents in Gosnells, have pitched in to help save Lady Lawley Cottage, a local disability support service in Cottesloe.

On July 17 a group of parents, children and former staff members, including Gosnells resident Kelly-Ann Hackett, presented a petition with 2200 signatures to the Town of Cottesloe Mayor Phil Angers.

The petition was presented in council on July 28, but Ms Hackett said Mayor Angers said he was unsure how council could help with the matter.

A ministerial petition was also presented to Member for Cottesloe, David Honey MP, who expressed his support for Lady Lawley Cottage to be re-opened and recognised for its efforts.

It is understood Mr Honey will present the petition to the Legislative Council in mid-August when parliament next meets.

Ms Hackett, who was a support worker for Lady Lawley Cottage for about nine years, is now caring for Levi Jones, a non-verbal, wheelchair-dependent sixyear-old boy, diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, vision impairment and epilepsy.

“Levi is completely dependent and reliant on others to meet all of his personal care needs,” she said.

“As a single mum the support put in place to help the family is extremely essential to the health and wellbeing of the family.

“Because Lady Lawley is not going to be available in the future, this limits Levi’s care to me as his support worker and host family.

“Levi is my absolute best friend; his care and quality of life is the most important thing to me.

“It saddens me to think that if there were a time to come, I could no longer provide the level of care Levi requires from my home that there would be no facility available with the specialist care that Levi would require.”

Another resident, Moira Coady, mother of Natasha, said Lady Lawley Cottage saved the family’s sanity over the years.

“It helped Tasha by giving her a break from us with some fun people and ours giving us time to do things or just sleep,” she said.

“Those of us with high medical needs children need the unique services of Lady Lawley as many providers cannot cater for their needs.

“Our children need 24/7 care so respite is imperative to enable us to continue to care and not burn out.”

Ms Hackett said the team’s next step was to focus towards gathering the evidence to support the obligations of Red Cross, to ensure that the disability provider re-opens for the benefit for West Australian Children.

The team also confirmed with the state heritage office that Lady Lawley Cottage and the land was listed permanently on the Heritage Register.

The support from the local community in Gosnells was also overwhelming according to Ms Hackett who spent numerous days collecting signatures in the local area.

“It has highlighted that our community care about those with disabilities and ensuring that they have the appropriate facilities to care for them and meet there needs,” she said.

“The stories I have heard have warmed my heart.”

Anyone interested can visit Red Cross “Don’t ditch it. Re-gift it” help save a home away from home for disabled kids” through change. org