The States of Jersey is working in partnership with local charities to enhance the short-break support that is available to Island families.
Following the signing of a Ministerial Decision in December to release the funding of £700,000, work has begun on a major overhaul of the facilities at Oakwell in St Brelade.
Oakwell provides a facility for children with learning disabilities and/ or additional physical needs, allowing their parents or primary carers the opportunity to take short breaks while knowing their children are being well looked after. All ages up to 18 are catered for.
The project follows a review into respite services initiated by the HSS Scrutiny Panel and the UK charity Action for Children, and is being co-funded by the Lions Club of Jersey and the Variety Club of Jersey.
Jersey Property Holdings will carry out the works using a number of local contractors; this will include increasing the number of bedrooms available at Oakwell from four to five, and a significant upgrade to amenities. All areas of the property will now be readily accessible for wheelchairs, and features will include a new sensory area, swimming pool changing area and kitchen. Both service users and staff were consulted regarding the details of the proposed work.
Short breaks will be provided at Maison des Landes in St Ouen for the duration of the work, which should be completed by summer 2014.
Deputy Anne Pryke, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “This project is the result of the excellent partnership between the public sector and local third sector organisations like Variety and the Lions Club, and will provide a very significant enhancement to the provision of this valuable service.”
The funding for the project included £50,000 from the Variety Club, and £25,000 from the Lions Club, who chose the project to be one of the prime beneficiaries of the 2014 Swimarathon.
Assistant Treasury Minister, Deputy Eddie Noel, said: “This is a great example of how the Health and Social Services department and charitable bodies, working with States property professionals, can deliver projects that make a real difference to these young lives. The project will also provide much needed work for the local building industry and allied trades.”