After 12 years of fundraising, the JPK Project has reached a milestone and been granted planning permission to build a residential centre at a former church in Old Town.
Jill Parker, whose daughter Katie has a learning disability, is the woman behind the project.
This week she told the Herald she is delighted the planning inspector overturned Eastbourne Borough Council’s decision in October 2012 to refuse the proposal for the Edgmond Church site and gave full permission.
Jill said, “We can now purchase the site with the money we have already raised and start to make progress and take some positive steps forward.
“Before now, the JPK Project has just been a dream.”
The plans include 16 en suite studio apartments to allow for support with independent living for people with a learning disability, to include communal rooms and outdoor space in the centre of the project.
An additional eight apartments will be provided to accommodate people who are more able but will still require the assistance of staff from time to time.
The existing church building will remain and be refurbished to incorporate a tea room called Palm Court, a bakery and a charity shop called Daisy Chain. The businesses will be open to the public and aim to provide realistic training and work experience the residents and others with a learning disability in the local area.
Katy Rose is hoping to move in to the centre. The 25-year-old’s dad Chris Rose has raised £90,000 over the years with golf days.
Katy said, “I am very happy and excited that the building is now allowed to take place.”
Jill, who has already raised £80,000 for the project, says another £4 million is needed for the build. She has a database of organisations, such as the National Lottery, which provide funding to community projects. Jill and the other JPK Project trustees are also hoping their loyal supporters will help with their major fundraising campaign.
She said, “We could not have reached this stage without the assistance and support of so many people which include Edgmond Church for their support and patience.
“You have all made a difference and our grateful thanks. Please continue to support our endeavours and we look forward to welcoming you all at the grand opening, date to be confirmed.”
Jill says she is optimistic about the project and hopes it will be up and running within the next two years.
To help fundraise for the project visit www.jpkproject.co.uk or call Jill on 0843 289 3624.