ALL the religious houses in the diocese of Nottingham have been asked to help provide short term care for handicapped children so as to give their parents a rest.
In a letter circulated in the diocese, Fr Frank Daly, chaplain to the handicapped in Nottingham, said that many large religious houses could spare a room without any inconvenience to the rest of their community.
He continued; "I feel that it is wrong for us to buy large properties at great cost to purchase and maintain when there are more than adequate resources and facilities already available."
Fr Daly also appealed to families to take mentally handicapped children into their homes for a day or two at a time.
He said: "Such a service is not going to be built up overnight. Much will depend on the goodwill of the Christian community and the willingness of parents to entrust their children to the care of others. "It will take sonic time for this mutual trust and friendship to grow, but the need is so great that we should start right away."
The social services were falling down in providing short term care, and the many voluntary agencies, despite their good will. did not have the resources to meet the need.
Too often the result was that after a few years of full time caring, parents experienced "complete mental and physical exhaustion."
Now many parents in the diocese, along with those in other parts of the country, were pleading for someone to give them and their families a break from the strain of supporting the handicapped members.
He concluded his letter: "The time for talking about the mentally handicapped and their needs is over: we must now seek to take them into the heart of our own lives and make a commitment to them that is faithful and lasting."