THE family of a disabled teenager are appealing for help to get him to college.

Michael Gardiner, 19, was due to start at Southend Adult Community College this week after a year of meetings about transport.

After problems with funding and transport, Castle Point MP, Rebecca Harris stepped in and a Leigh-based taxi company Access Anyone offered to take Michael free for one week.

Michael, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, is confined to a wheelchair and requires round the clock one-to-one care.

His family have said unless funding becomes available, they have no way of getting him from their home in Long Road, Canvey, to the Southend college.

Dad Perry Gardiner, 53, said: “He’s now left school and we’ve spent the past year going to meetings every six weeks with social workers and the transition officers to sort his personal health plan to make sure he has a place and can get to college.

“He’s been offered three days a week at the college, but with no transport provided because Essex County Council social services do not provide transport to people on the high mobility allowance.”

Perry says the family are hoping to work out a solution as he is unable to take Michael due to working full time and Michael’s mum, Diane, 50, who is his carer does not drive.

Michael’s older sister Jennifer Gardiner, 23, has taken to Facebook to appeal for help and has been inundated with messages of support.

She said: “We are close and it’s myself and my mum who look after him. If mum ever has a day off, it’s me that takes him out.

“This all started a year ago and if Michael were to go to the college for three days a week, it would make a big difference, not just to Michael, but the family.

“Mum cares for him all the time, so this would give her some time to herself.

“Michael is my absolute world and he means everything to me and it’s breaking my heart that my parents and Mike are going through this, I just want it all sorted.

“We’ve had people come forward who might be able to lift share and the response has been amazing with people trying to help. Access Anyone have been amazing and have agreed to take Michael for three days this week for free.

“They’ve also done everything they can to try and co-ordinate with ourselves and the social worker to get it all sorted as soon as possible.”

Essex County Council did not respond to the Echo’s request for comment.