19 May 2010
Local children who need residential care will, once again, be able to be cared for at Brig-y-Don from next year as plans to re-vitalise the building get under way.
For the first time in the history of Brig-y-Don, an agreement has been signed which will mean that the States of Jersey lease the building from the Brig-y-Don charity for £50,000 a year.
Plans are now being drawn up by the States architect to be submitted to Planning for refurbishment of the interior of the building to conform to modern day care standards.
Health and Social Services, on behalf of the States of Jersey through Property Holdings, have leased the building from the Brig-y-Don charity, and the care of children and young people there will form part of the Williamson recommendations.
The interior of the building has changed little within 80 years, and it is estimated that £650,000 will have to be spent on the proposed refurbishment.
Acting Chief Officer for Health and Social Services, Richard Jouault said “There was a pressing need following the Williamson report to develop these services immediately. We are pleased to be able to rent Brig-y-Don from the charity so we can get on with the crucial work around child issues in Jersey."
Health and Social Services Minister Deputy Anne Pryke added “It is wonderful that for children in Jersey who need specialist help that Brig-y-Don will be able to cater for them. It is also pleasing that the care provision, highlighted in the Williamson recommendations are coming to fruition. It will be such a benefit to the children who need this care. It is wonderful that the building will now be used again to give children a home.”
Susie Pinel, chairman of Brig-y-Don said "For many years, the future of Brig-y-Don was uncertain. We hope that now the process is underway to revive Brig-y-Don as a home for the care of children that it will all happen as quickly as possible. It is good for the future of Brig-y-Don, which was uncertain for so long, that plans are now underway to ensure that the building is fit for purpose for modern day childcare. The situation of Brig-y-Don in a seaside location means that it is a wonderful and therapeutic place for children and young people who might need to stay there.”
The plans currently being considered mean that the building could provide a home for both younger and older children with varying needs, and would also mean that some siblings could live together. 6 residential care bedrooms are to be provided, with a seventh for emergency admissions and / or overnight staff in the main house. In addition, 2 or 3 independent living bedsit units would be created in the annexe to cater for transitional requirements of older children.
The Brig-y-Don Children’s Trust will now be formed, with the remit of helping Island children and their families who may need extra financial support, in a variety of situations. For example, providing the facility for respite care or money may be sought if a child needs to travel to the UK for medical treatment and needs both parents to travel with them. ‘Any applications to the Trust for assistance would be treated in absolute confidence,’ said Mrs Pinel.
Any donations to the trust will be utilised for the benefit of children in Jersey as described above. The annual rental from the States will assist in the repayment of the pension debt to PECRS incurred with the enforced closure of Brig-y-Don in August 2009.