Update on Overnight Short Breaks in Ealing

On November 15th 2016 Ealing Council agreed that £1.5 million would be made available to build a new Overnight Short Breaks Unit in Ealing for Children with Disabilities, replacing Heller House which closed in July 2016. 

This decision was the outcome of the tireless campaigning by a group of Parent Carers supported by Ealing Mencap, Ealing Parent Carer Forum, Log Cabin, local SEN schools and others. The Campaign highlighted the need for this service in Ealing and was backed by a 12,000 strong petition collected across Ealing supporting the development of a new service (the largest petition ever in Ealing.)

At the council meeting on Nov 15th two sites were identified to be considered for the new build:

  •  Site 1 - at Log Cabin in Northfields, the new structure would be built into a slope at the far end of the playground. Because of the sloping nature of this site a survey was commissioned by the council to determine the viability and cost effectiveness of this proposal. 
  • Site 2 - in Northolt is on an available plot adjacent to a park. This site is flat and would not require expensive groundworks (unlike site 1) but is at a less central location in the borough and without the direct link to Log Cabin at Site 1.

Following the decision to develop a new unit, a consultation group was set up including so far; Council Officers, Architects, Parent Carers and Ealing Mencap; to work jointly on the siting and building of the new unit to ensure the best outcome for the children and their families. 


The Northolt site is currently the favoured option for the Parent Carers in the consultation group. The proposed build has an identified budget of £1.5million and it is clear that groundworks to prepare the Log Cabin site for development will use a lot of money which would reduce the budget available for the building itself. This would mean:

  • The build at Log Cabin would have smaller capacity and less favourable living space than the build possible at the Northolt site.
  • Access to the unit will be more congested at Log Cabin than Northolt.
  • Future proofing for increased demand would not be possible at the Log Cabin Site but may well be possible at Northolt.
  • Outside space at the Log Cabin site would need to be shared with other users of the playground.  Although the group were initially positive about this link, on balance it was felt mixing very different groups of children may cause complications. The Northolt site in contrast will have its own garden space.

The outcome of the survey commissioned by the council to examine the viability of the Log Cabin site is likely to re-inforce the view that the Northolt site will deliver a better build more cost effectively. It is expected that a final decision on the site for the new service will be taken at the next Council Cabinet meeting on April 25th 2017.


Everyone involved in the Consultation Group is keen to hear your views on all aspects of the development of this new service. In the first instance, if you wish to express an opinion about where the unit is to be built or want more information on this please contact us (details below). 

The Consultation Group is also looking at the detailed design of the building and welcomes the views of as many of you as possible, proposed plans will be distributed and consultation meetings will be organised. The latest plan is likely to provide a minimum of 6 beds with potential to extend to 8/9 beds. We will be publishing updates on EalingHELP as we receive them.

If you would like to be involved more directly, again please contact the Consultation Group using the details below. Parent Carers of children with ASD are well represented on the Consultation Group however they are very keen for Parents who care for children with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) and/or with Medical Needs to be part of the group. So please contact us if you are interested (see details below), the meetings take place on Friday mornings, currently every other week, do not worry if you cannot commit to every meeting.    

Contact Details:

Jen Moseley - on behalf of Parent Carer members of the Consultation Group re a new Overnight Short Breaks Unit in Ealing.

email: jennifer.moseley@ealingmencap.org.uk

Mobile:  07973 997335