Arndale Centre collection held for the JPK Project

Fundraising Volunteers Reg & Moira Brook in the Arndale Centre SUS-150116-102327001
Fundraising Volunteers Reg & Moira Brook in the Arndale Centre SUS-150116-102327001

Volunteers from the JPK Project were collecting in the Arndale Centre last week to raise money for a residential centre for people with a learning disability.

Jill Parker, whose daughter Katie has a learning disability, started the charity back in February 2001 with a cream tea in her garden.

Her aim is to provide a residential centre for her daughter and others in the same position.

To date Jill and her supporters have raised a massive £900,000 and bought the former Edgmond Church site in Old Town, which will be home to the centre, for £600,00.

However, they need more money to finance the build and last week launched a four-day fundraising drive in a bid to raise as much as possible towards the charity’s £3 million target.

The finished centre will provide training and work experience for people with learning difficulties in addition to accommodation.

There will be 16 en-suite apartments for people with a severe learning disability who need 24-hour support and eight apartments for more able people.

There will also be communal rooms including a lounge, dining room, kitchen and activity room to allow and encourage residents to socialise.

Residents and others with a learning disability will also be working in Palm Court Tea Room, complete with a commercial kitchen, bakery and a charity shop.

Jill said, “It is really important that we provide training and work experience for these people.

“This centre will also provide opportunities for others with a learning disability who live in the community.”

Jill says her daughter Katie, now 35, desperately needs her independence.

She told the Herald, “She has seen her brother, who is 18 months older than her, go off to his own home, get married and have his own children.

“Katie is isolated living with us.

“We try our best but she is bored to death at home with her aging parents.

“She wants to do what other young women of her age are doing and socialising at pubs and going to the cinema or go bowling but she is unable to do so because of her disability.

“She understands and she is upset that she is unable to do the things that others her age can do.

“No 35-year-old woman wants to go nightclubbing with their parents but with young motivated carers, Katie and others like her can go out and enjoy themselves.

“On the odd occasion she has had a chance to go out with a young carer she has loved it.”

Jill says that since Katie was born she has worried about what will happen to her daughter.

She said, “I want her to be settled before a crisis arises.

For more information on the charity or to donate visit