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Providing Opportunities
for People with
Learning Disabilities

The JPK Sussex Project marked a major milestone with a drinks reception and presentation at the Centre on Thursday 28 January.

The event was held in advance of construction work which will commence this Spring in preparation for the first phase of the development of the Supported Living Centre at our site in Church Street, Old Town.

The evening drew more than 70 guests, including a number of dignitaries from Eastbourne and East Sussex. We were honoured to welcome The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Mr Peter Field and Margaret Field, The High Sheriff of East Sussex, Mrs Julia Smith, and the Worshipful the Mayor of Eastbourne, Mrs Janet Coles, along with guests from a number of local organisations who have supported the JPK Project.

Chair and Founder, Jill Parker, MBE, “The event was a great opportunity to mark important progress and gave us a moment to reflect on everything that has been achieved so far. Peter Murphy of CPL Architects provided an excellent presentation, with detail on the plans for the building and its various elements, and an overview of the planned construction works and how this has been devised into several phases.

“Alongside our guests, I would like to give special mention to the Trustees and supporters who made the evening by welcoming and escorting dignitaries and guests, preparing and serving drinks and canapes, and more.”

On completion, the JPK Project will provide accommodation for 24 people with 24-hr staff support. It will also comprise a Community Centre, Charity Shop, Bakery and Tearoom and provide training and work experience opportunity for residents and other individuals in the area, along with a valuable new community resource. In addition to news online, you can also keep up to date with the JPK Project on Facebook.

Pictured at the reception from left to right: Maggie Clive-Matthews, Jacky Bevan, Freda Hampson, JPK Supporters, Brian Hampson, President elect Eastboure Soveriegn Rotary Club (back row) also JPK supporter, Leonie Turner, Trustee of The JPK Sussex Project and John-Paul Turner (front row), Nigel Greaves, President of Eastbourne Rotary Club, Canon Tom Mendel of St. Mary’s Church in Old Town (back row), Mrs Juliet Smith, High Sheriff of East Sussex, Mrs Lesley Goble, JPK supporter, Jill Parker, MBE, Chair of The JPK Sussex Project, Mr Peter Field, Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Mrs Sylvia Westley, JPK supporter, and Mrs Margaret Field, wife of Peter Field.

Jill Parker at Investiture

“I am extremely honoured to have been awarded the MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in Her Birthday Honours List.

My daughter Katie was my initial inspiration, along with all her friends and their families which I have had the pleasure to know during my journey over the years, to try and raise the profile, needs and facilities for people with a learning disability in Eastbourne and the surrounding areas.

I couldn’t have achieved so much without the support of my family, friends, Colleagues and wonderful supporters over the years. You are all a part of this magnificent accolade.”

“I qualified as an SRN in 1965 and eventually specialised in Accident and Emergency and Cardio Thoracic Surgery.

I am married to Patrick Parker and have a son and a daughter Katie, the latter having been born with a Learning Disability and Autism.

From that time my life changed and I became involved in the Voluntary Sector specialising in the needs of the learning disabled and their Parents/Carers.

I recognised over the years gaps and shortfalls in services, initiated EAPAG (Eastbourne Area Parents Action Group,LD) as a parent support group.

During this period we fundraised and provided services, including The Downland Farm Project, ‘Based at Chalk Farm Hotel’, which gives training and work experience to people with a learning disability.

In 2001 I initiated the JPK Sussex Project as it became clear that there were no suitable vacancies in the area for our vulnerable children to live, when we as parents could no longer continue in our caring role.

No man (or woman) is an island.
I recognise my strengths but also acknowledge my weaknesses and I am therefore delighted to have recruited an experienced and professional Board of Trustees, who together, along with our Professional Partners and Supporters, will see the JPK developed for those people who, through no fault of their own, cannot help themselves.”

The sun shone down on the 9th and 10th April for the two days kindly allocated by Caroline, John and Pippa McCutchan at Bates Green Farm to the JPK Project.

More than 250 people visited the Centre on the two days and although, being early in the bluebell season and only 17 bluebells noted, there was much else to see, including an abundance of Anemones and other beautiful flora and interesting fauna. Visitors were also given a warm welcome to the Bluebell Café where our lovely JPK volunteers provided delicious homemade refreshments.

None of this would have been possible without the generosity, assistance and friendship of the McCutchan Family, Claire Ballard, organiser, Karen Hurst of Cavendish Bakery, and the 43 JPK volunteers who helped on both days, plus many more who provided all the homemade provisions for sale.

According to Jill Parker, Chair & Founder of the JPK Project “It was a pleasure to be a part of this new fundraising event and wonderful to have the help of so many volunteers and supporters who gave time and products to support the JPK in its endeavours.

“Our special thanks to the McCutchan family for their hard work and generosity in preparing and opening their Bluebell Walk and donating the gate money to so many local charities since 1972, including the JPK this year. You have all made a difference, to help those people with a learning disability who, through no fault of their own, cannot help themselves.

Thank you.

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