A respite home for children and young people with learning disabilities and/or associated conditions is to reopen following the completion of the first phase of a thorough refurbishment.
Maison Allo in St Saviour has been a children’s respite home for 12 years. Although the property is owned by Jersey Mencap, it is operated by Les Amis and its services are commissioned by Health and Social Services. The accommodation comprises four bedrooms for respite users, communal lounge area, kitchen, utility room and two bathrooms.
The home provides respite care in a safe and relaxed environment for children and young people with a mild to moderate learning disability, and/or associated conditions, between the ages of five to 18 years. Les Amis works closely with parents and carers to deliver care that meets the needs of each child and their family.
Respite care is the provision of short-term, temporary relief to those who care for family members. Those using the local facility do not necessarily require 24-hour care as many of Les Amis respite users, from adults to children; enjoy fulfilling and rewarding lives by working and attending college or school. However, there are occasions when their parent or carers need the support of respite care due to other commitments or simply to give them a break.
The need for additional respite spaces was identified by Scrutiny in 2012 and is part of Health’s long-term strategy to be provided in residential accommodation and in the home.
Les Amis Managing Director Shaun Findlay said the refurbishment of Maison Allo, just four months after new purpose-built facilities opened at Mourant Lodge in Trinity, was the beginning of meeting that need.
He said: ‘Yet again the successful completion of the first phase of refurbishment illustrates effective partnership working and vision to meet the current and future needs of Islanders at no extra cost to tax payers. Les Amis has been working very hard to develop this project and I am sure the benefits will outweigh the cost when the children and young people begin using the facility this month.’
The second phase is currently with the planning department awaiting approval. However, it will see better parking and full disability access to the property which will increase the choice of services parents have for their children.
Money for the first phase of the refurbishment came from the Association of Jersey Charities and Mencap and it entailed making the property, including the garden, fully accessible for wheel chair users and redecoration throughout. Les Amis will have to raise the funds for the second phase, which will see the garage converted into an en-suite unit with full disability access, so the work can be undertaken in 2015. A fundraising appeal will be launched during the charity 40th anniversary next year.
Les Amis was first opened at Five Oaks in 1975. Originally known as Maison Variety it now supports 30 properties around the Island where groups of people are supported so they can live independently.
Today Les Amis is as expanding organisation, growing to meet the needs of those with learning disabilities – including Downs Syndrome and autism – and/or associated conditions in Jersey. It has been running respite care services for 20 years.