A WIRRAL dad is leading the fight to save Wirral's respite care centres.

Brian Donaldson, whose 28-year-old son Paul has profound mental and physical disabilities, has launched an online petition to overturn the closures of five care homes on the borough.

He wants to show council bosses that there is a desperate need among vulnerable adults for the care that the homes provide.

And he is urging people to get on board and back his campaign.

Brian, from Heswall, said: "Paul has the mind of a six-month-old baby so it is a lot of work for myself and my wife to look after him.

"His condition means his sleep pattern is very erratic so we struggle to get a good night's sleep. He receives respite care during the course of the year which allows us to recharge our batteries and relax a little.

"But with the cuts, it means there may not be that option and it could cause a lot of problems for the family."

Paul, who was born with cerebral palsy and suffers from epilepsy, attends Eastham Day Care Centre five days a week and stays at Maple Home respite centre for around six weeks a year.

Maple Home is among five care homes earmarked for closure to save the local authority £2.7m.

Also on the hitlist are Pensall House in Pensby, Poulton House in Wallasey, Meadowcoft in Bromborough and Fernleigh in Leasowe.

Wirral Council said the closure plan is based on priorities set by the public in a major consultation exercise and has assured families that support would continue to be provided.

But Brian is concerned about the emotional impact the closures will have on service-users.

He said: "We have been told about applying for what they call a 'personal budget', which we are able to spend on the type of care we like.

"This is all very well but Paul knows the staff and surroundings at Maple Home and we are worried about how he will respond to something new."

Wirral South MP Alison McGovern has voiced her support for the cause.

She said: "I am 100% behind Mr Donaldson. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the situation, the authority has treated vulnerable people and their families with scant regard.

"I am seeking an urgent meeting with socal care spokesman Bob Moon to ask why they have treated people so badly.”

CouncillorMoon said: “I would like to reassure this gentleman that someone will be contacting him personally in the near future to talk through the options now available for his son in more detail.

“I can also guarantee that appropriate support for his son will continue to be given – just in a different way that allows him and his son more choice.

“The quality of care for every person affected by this change will be maintained.

"The council has put together a team of skilled professionals who will support people to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible and that they are able to exercise choice and control over how they receive their care and support in the future."

He said that if anyone is unsure how their own, or their loved ones’, care will continue when changes are introduced, they can call the Department for Adult Social Services to talk to someone directly on 0151 606 2006.

For more information about the petition, visit www.wirral.gov.uk and click on 'e-petitions' under the heading 'Have Your Say'.

A public meeting to discuss the future of Wirral's respite care homes has been organised by Ms McGovern for this Saturday, February 19, between 1pm and 3pm, at Bromborough Civic Centre, Allport Lane, Bromborough.