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Iain Duncan Smith speaks up for disabled Dagenham teenager

PUBLISHED: 12:30 22 May 2017

Sarah and Georgia Craigie, from Dagenham, rely on Haven House for support Picture: Haven House

Sarah and Georgia Craigie, from Dagenham, rely on Haven House for support Picture: Haven House

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Tory politician Iain Duncan Smith teamed up with a disabled teenager to raise awareness about young people “falling through the gaps” when transitioning to adult care services.

Iain Duncan Smith visited Haven House to raise awareness about young people falling through gaps in society Picture: Haven House Iain Duncan Smith visited Haven House to raise awareness about young people falling through gaps in society Picture: Haven House

A 22-year patron of Haven House Children’s Hospice, he says adult and children’s hospices need to work more closely to ensure teenagers like Georgia Craigie, from Dagenham, can access the support they need when they turn 19.

Georgia suffers from severe epilepsy, curvature of the spone and brain deterioration and mum Sarah Craigie says the support she receives from the Woodford Green hospice is vital.

“Haven House has been a lifeline to Georgia and my family,” she said. “Georgia loves the time she spends there and is benefitting from music therapy and physiotherapy.

“The nurses know her so well and it also gives me that break to enable me to carry on giving Georgia the best life possible.”

Georgia’s condition could stop her reaching the age of 19 in February next year, when she’ll need to make the transition to adult care, but Sarah says she’s a fighter and that it’s vital thoses services are available to her.

“There have been many times when we were told that Georgia would be unlikely to survive,” she said. “But she is a fighter and still here smiling 18 years later.

“The support is vital to us and there is no way we would be able to function without it.

“In an adult hospice the environment is so different that I worry about what it would be like when Georgia turns 19 next year and we have to find a suitable adult hospice that provides respite like Haven House does.”

On Monday, May 22, which marks the start of Children’s Hospice Week, former secretary of state for work and pensions Iain Duncan Smith said too many children live in fear of losing support.

“Too many young people and their families find the transition from children to adult services difficult and fear they will fall through the gaps and be left without support,” he said. “I know from families supported by wonderful hospices such as Haven House that this is a real worry and something which we must address.”

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