Old church to become a care centre

Jill Parker holds plans of the JPK Project at the Edgmond Church site in Old Town
Jill Parker holds plans of the JPK Project at the Edgmond Church site in Old Town

The JPK Project is now the proud owner of the Edgmond Church site in Old Town after handing over £600,000.

The sale of the church on Church Street in Old Town completed on June 21 and founder of the project, Jill Parker, says she is ‘absolutely delighted’.

Mrs Parker started the JPK Project in 2001. She, the charity’s trustees and supporter in the local community have raised £900,000 for a residential centre for people with learning difficulties since that time.

There have been many obstacles for the project over the years and JPK was only given planning permission for the Old Town site on appeal after their plans were refused by Eastbourne Borough Council.

Now, around one month after recieveing approval from the planning inspector, they have bought the old church.

Mrs Parker said, “This is the catalyst for us to move forward and it is very exciting.

“The trustees of JPK are absolutely delighted.”

Mrs Parker, whose daughter Katie has a learning disability, wants to see her dream of creating an independent living centre become a reality by 2015.

The plans include 16 en suite studio apartments, communal rooms and outdoor space in the centre of the project.

There will be eight other apartments to accommodate people who are more able. The existing church building will be refurbished and include a tea room, a bakery and a charity shop. The businesses will be open to the public to provide training and work experience the residents.

But JPK needs to raise a whopping £4 million for all the building costs, furniture and equipment.

Mrs Parker said, “I realise £4 million sounds like an awful lot of money but that is the full and complete costings.

“We have also broken it down into units and then broken it down in to individual rooms.

“For example furnishing a room will cost £1,000. That means, if we can get 24 people or fundraising groups to raise £1,000 each we have furnished all the rooms in the centre.

“If you look at it like that it doesn’t sound so horrendous.”

The JPK Project has also researched the best grant making trusts for the charity and, now it owns the building, can start applying for funding.

Mrs Parker says the project, once up and running, will be funded by central government money which the residents already receive in benefits.

To help fundraise for the project visit www.jpkproject.co.uk or call Jill on 0843 289 3624.