SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey this week made an impassioned plea to Education Minister John O’Dowd not to close the Woodlands Unit.
During an adjournment debate in Stormont on Wednesday, Ramsey told O’Dowd that parents and staff at Woodlands, and the SDLP, “are not finished fighting for Woodlands”.
The Derry politician who has been campaigning to save the unit on the Racecourse Road added: “Woodlands helps children from across the community, and is stable and, most importantly, has a track record of success in helping young people overcome communication problems.
“The Western Health and Social Care Trust had made clear to the Department they would need extra resources to cope with the change in service – and to date no detail has been released on whether than can, or has been provided.”
“Many of my constituents have laid bare to me their views on this issue and the conduct of the Board and the Department in relation to provision in my constituency.
“Pull the rug from under a facility, dent confidence in its future, and then close it.
“This fight for Woodlands will not go quietly into the night, and I call on the Education Minister to lift the Sword of Damocles from over the heads of my constituents who desperately need and use this service.”
Mr Pat Ramsey also met with Derry campaigners fighting to save the Woodlands Speech and Language Therapy unit in Derry who travelled to Stormont to meet with the local MLA and hear him speak in the Assembly chamber.
Pat Ramsey says the decision to allow the closure of the Woodlands unit saying is “not standing up for Derry.”
“This is the systemic destruction of a facility that we should have been doing everything we could to save and promote, instead it will now be decimated and the future of the services rendered unclear,”he added.
A facebook page has been set up against the proposed closure of the unit.