HUNDREDS of people signed a petition calling for plans to axe a Kidderminster respite centre to be shelved.

Wyre Forest Labour organised a stall outside Kidderminster Town Hall on Saturday (January 13) as part of their campaign to save Ludlow Road Short Breaks Unit.

They were joined by more than 60 other people including parents and their children from across Worcestershire who use the unit along with family, friends, community activists and members of Bromsgrove Labour.

Worcestershire County Council has begun a consultation with users of the centre to discuss the future of the service, which gives parents of young people respite from providing care.

One of the options being considered is axing the centre, which the authority provides more than £618,000 per year to Worcestershire Health and Care Trust to run on its behalf.

Labour hailed Saturday’s event a “success” with 743 signatures being gathered for the petition.

A simultaneous stall was also held by Evesham Labour Party as part of a joint campaigning day on the NHS and the party said other branches have also pledged to do similar and collect signatures for Ludlow Road.

Wyre Forest Labour’s Stephen Brown said: “It’s an amazing turnout from everyone and Saturday was a great success.

“My thanks to Labour’s Ben Davies for organising it, and to Amanda Danby for coordinating the parents’ and their children’s presence.

“Labour across Worcestershire is supporting the parents in their campaign and I’ll be doing what I can to advise them and represent their interests.

“The event shows the strength of feeling of people across our local community and beyond to save Ludlow Road.

“We’re talking about a unique NHS facility in Kidderminster that does an incredible job for the disabled children in their care and for their families.

“It’s a home from home for the children with the strongest bond of trust and confidence imaginable that should never be broken. It can take the parents and children considerable time to settle, establish the levels of trust required so that both feel comfortable.

“Over the next few weeks, we’ll be collecting more signatures, engaging in more events, lobbying politicians, and delivering our message wide and far.

“Our aim is to deliver the petition to the Council and look those decision makers in the eye and ask them to recognise the consequences of their actions. Consequences which are real, and affect some of the most vulnerable children and families in our community.

“Our elected politicians must do their best to protect them as part of their duty of care, and keep Ludlow Road open, working with their partners in the NHS to achieve that.

“If they fail to protect our most vulnerable people then they really need to ask themselves what it is they think they’re achieving as politicians. We are at a crossroads and they can still do the right thing by these parents and children by saving Ludlow Road, which I urge them to do.”

Council chiefs say the welfare of children, young people and their families remains their top priority and they had launched this consultation to ensure services can be delivered better in the future.

The consultation will last a minimum of six weeks before a final decision is made, which could be as early as March.