Dunedin mother Lynlee von Ballmoos is vowing to fight the closure of the Windmill holiday programme. Photo by Linda Robertson.
A Dunedin holiday programme for autistic and other special
needs children is being axed and a Dunedin mother is furious
the provider gave just four weeks' notice.
Lynlee von Ballmoos, of Dunedin, whose severely autistic
12-year-old son attends the Windmill Specialised Care holiday
programme, is vowing to fight its closure,saying the lack of
adequate notice was unacceptable.
''Where are these kids supposed to go? There's nowhere.''
She feared it was a first step to closing the Windmill
Mrs von Ballmoos, who has two autistic sons, only recently
re-entered the workforce after a 13-year break.
Losing the holiday programme would be a major blow.
''It is the only respite that I've got, and now they're going
to take that away.''
She planned to liaise with other affected parents to oppose
The centre is operated by Access, a home support provider,
which confirmed yesterday it could not afford to run the
school holiday programme.
Mrs von Ballmoos did not understand why Access could not
afford the service using funding children brought to it.
Access chief executive Graeme Titcombe, of Wellington, said
he wanted to offer something in its place, but what that
could be was unclear.
The centre's after-school and weekend programmes continue.
Access closed its Invercargill Windmill centre at the end of
Cuts were necessary to deal with an annual shortfall of about
$230,000. The next school holidays start on July 7. Parents
were told only this week the programme was ending.
''Look, ... there is no ideal time to give notice that such a
programme will not be continuing. We are very, very conscious
of that, and that's why we are pre-warning that ... it does
not look likely that we will have anything for these school
The programme is attended by 35 to 40 children.
Mr Titcombe said the funding they brought from various
allocations was insufficient.
''We would love to be able to run this programme throughout
''There is nothing like it in New Zealand. But probably why
there is nothing like it is the funding streams are just not
there at the moment.''
Access picked up the programme about 18 months ago from
Dunedin Home Support Services, a provider Access acquired
amid Southern District Health Board home support contract
The Otago Daily Times asked Mr Titcombe if Access
should carry the programme using its other revenues, which he
said was not an option.
''I just wish that Access Homehealth revenues were so strong.
There is no way that we could carry a programme making