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New home for young people

18 May 2011

5 young people who are in the care of Health and Social Services will get a new home when Brig-y-Don reopens in June.

The newly refurbished building, which used to be a residential home for younger children, has undergone a major refurbishment funded by the States of Jersey at a cost of £650,000.

The remodelled building will now offer residential care for up to 6 children in the main house, and 2 living independently in 2 separate units, in what was previously the pre-school, at Brig-y-Don on St Clement's coast road.

The refurbishment now meets the criteria recommended in the 2008 report by childcare expert Andrew Williamson, about developing and providing the best possible services for children and young people in residential care.

The reopening, on 4 June, which will be celebrated by a garden party, comes after months of work which began in January. This follows the closure of the home in August 2009. Brig-y-Don first cared for children in 1926, although the original opening garden party was not held until 1939.

The building is owned by the charity Brig-y-Don Children’s Charity, but is leased to Health and Social Services, under an agreement signed in March 2010.

Phil Dennett, Children's Service manager at HSS said "The facilities at Brig-y-Don are fantastic for the young people who will be cared for there.

Ideal environment

"It is an ideal environment for them to be, with our staff members, to ensure they receive excellent care. The complete redesign of the building represents how far we have come on in terms of care for children and young people. There is a move away from larger children's homes and we know this will offer a great environment."

Health and Social Services Minister Deputy Anne Pryke said "It is wonderful that this project, which will help Jersey's vulnerable young people is so near completion, so this building can once again be used as a place young people enjoy living. Thanks to the work done by the Brig-y-Don Children's Charity, and through the work done by HSSD, this site can be used properly by the department, and is fit for purpose. We see the role of Brig-y-Don as an essential one. Finishing the refurbishment project at Brig-y-Don has been a high priority for us, and we are pleased that it will be used so soon to play such an important role in the future.

"There was a pressing need following the Williamson report to develop those services immediately. We are pleased to be able to lease Brig-y-Don from the charity, and redevelop it to suit our needs, so we can get on with the crucial work around child issues in Jersey.

"The work we are currently doing around our Green Paper talks about all kinds of health and social care issues, and how we look after children in the future is a key issue to be addressed. The reopening of Brig-y-Don as a new, modern facility emphasises what we want for the future - the very best, appropriate care for Jersey's children and young people."

Susie Pinel, chairman of the Brig-y-Don Children's Charity, said that their aim for the future was not just to provide a home for children through the lease, but also to help other children and their families in the Island.

She said "Our children's charity has been set up not only to provide important extras for the Brig-y-Don residents, such as days out, but also to provide financial support and guidance to children and their families in Jersey during difficult times. The charity will be run on similar lines to a trust, whereby applications, on behalf of children, are made by individuals or organisations. All such applications will be considered in the strictest confidence.

"Our charity is one of the oldest in Jersey, and has helped many children over the years, despite the closure in August 2009, with the loss of 17 jobs and children having to leave the home. It is wonderful that the charity has started again from this closure.  This, of course, has only been possible due to the help and support of both our benefactors, and the dedicated staff who worked in the home. Some people thought that the charity ended with the closure of the home in 2009, which sadly resulted in a drop in donations, but this is not the case, we are still trying to raise funds in order to continue our valuable work."

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