Parents are “devastated” by the decision to close a Watford care centre which looks after severely disabled children and teenagers.

Nascot Lawn Respite Centre, in Langley Road, provides respite care for families of some of the county’s most disabled young people.

But on Friday, parents received a letter from Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group informing them that the centre would close at the end of October as a result of funding cuts.  

Nikki Lancaster, 36, relies on the service to provide additional care for 10-year-old son Lennon, who requires round the clock supervision due to his complex medical needs.

“It’s our haven and gives our other children a life really. There’s no other respite of a similar kind in Hertfordshire,” she said.

“It’s devastating. It’s heartbreaking. It truly is like a home from home. They care for our children like they were their own.

“To lose something so close to them is going to be devastating.”

She said that the lack of respite care may force the family to put her severely autistic son, who also suffers from seizures, in permanent residential care.

“Without a break, our family is going to reach breaking point. I’m scared for his future and our family’s future,” she added.

David Joseph’s 18-year-old son Dominic has “profound learning disabilities” and has been going to Nascot Lawn for most of his life.

He said the closure of the centre would be “a disaster” for young families who rely on the service to help them live a normal life.

“There have been cuts over the last 18 months but we didn’t think even the most cynical of us were expecting to receive a letter saying the venue was going to be closing,” he said.

“I’d say it’s been a lifeline for us. It’s helped us stay together as a family. Just to have a night off here and there has been an immense help.

“I would hope our local MPs are able to work together to see if they can save this facility.”

Hertfordshire County Council said in a statement: “We are disappointed that Herts Valleys CCG has decided to cease their funding contribution to short breaks services and we will be working closely with partners, staff and parents to minimise the impact of this decision.

“Where requested, HCC will carry out an assessment of children currently attending Nascot Lawn to understand whether new or additional social care support is required. In the short term we will recruit additional staff to carry out these assessments.”

Herts Valley CCG has been contacted for comment.

A petition to save the centre has attracted more than 4,000 signatures in just three days. You can sign the petition here.