The team behind a multi-million pound project which will see a centre created for people with a learning disability celebrated the handover of the keys for the site.
The move is a major milestone for the JPK Sussex Project which has spent years trying to find a suitable location to make its dream a reality.
Last Saturday (October 26) its trustees held a celebration to mark the handover of the keys for the newly acquired site at Edgmond Church in Old Town. The site will provide a Supported Living Centre for people with a learning disability and at the event the mayor and mayoress of Eastbourne, the town’s MP Stephen Lloyd and more than 100 friends and supporters turned out to celebrate the latest milestone.
Mayor Councillor Mike Thompson cut the ribbon and people tucked into refreshments by Sylvia Westley.
Jill Parker, chairman and project co-ordinator, gave a speech and explained how the scheme had been initiated by her daughter Katie Parker and John Paul Turner – who both have learning disabilities – and their parents some 12 years ago, after they discovered the need for supported living for their vulnerable dependants.
Jill said, “We could not have reached this stage without the tremendous support of all those present and many who could not be with us today, the support of our many professional advisors who have given their services pro bono and all those that have given their services voluntarily to help at fundraising events, donated in various forms, which has all made a difference and given us the strength to battle on with our endeavours.
“This is just the first stage and we look forward to your continuing support as we work to realise the capital required to commence building. Our grateful thanks to Ann Hamilton and Phil Haskell who organised the event.”
Terry Boatwright, chairman to Edgmond Church and who handed over the keys, said, “We could not have handed over our site to a better cause, a project which is needed in Eastbourne and which will be an additional asset to the community.”
During the event Jill also thanked personally the trustees and members of Edgmond Evangelical Church who, through their mission to leave their site in the hands of a worthwhile community project, patiently dealt with the many delays in the team being unable to gain planning consent initially. An appeal was held after the plans to build the centre were rejected by planners but this decision was later appealed against and upheld.
The next step for the team is to organise fundraising events and seek grants for organisations which will help cover the costs of the projects. Architects, engineers and other organisations will be working together to put plans together for the scheme.
The celebration event on Ooctber 26 ended by John Paul and Katie (The JPK) presenting Jill and husband Patrick with flowers and a bottle of bubbly.