The care sector is "deeply shocked" by the government's sudden withdrawal of support for a charity's plans to develop a hotel into specialist homes for people with disabilities, according to industry representatives.
Les Amis announced this week that a new government report had indicated that the Maison Des Amis development — which received Planning approval in November last year — was now too large for the island's predicted future needs.
But the Jersey Care Federation said on Friday afternoon that there was industry-wide support for Les Amis' own research that said the unit was needed.
The facility was due to be built at the Hampshire Hotel, which was purchased by the charity for £3.3 million. It would have been Jersey's first long-term residential home with specialist nursing units for islanders with learning disabilities, including those with early-onset dementia.
After the withdrawal of support, Leslie Norman, the chair of Les Amis, announced his resignation in a letter with scathing criticism of the Health Department – including accusations of behaviour "tantamount to bullying" from senior staff.
Without the government's commitment and in the face of rising costs and pressures on the local construction industry, the disability charity announced that "the financial risk is too high to justify continuing the development at this time".
Pictured: Les Amis bought the Hampshire Hotel in 2021 for £3.3m.
The government has since said they are "very much committed" to "continuing this work in partnership with Les Amis to develop future provision of services, ensuring that these meet the specific health- and social-care needs for our learning-disability population".
Now, the JCF has confirmed there is industry-wide support for JCF member Les Amis and their research regarding the level of facilities that will be required to support Jersey's future needs.
Cheryl Kenealy, Chairperson for the JCF, said: "As a sector, we are deeply shocked by the news that the Government of Jersey has withdrawn its support for these vital facilities.
"Over the last eight years, our members have all worked collaboratively alongside Les Amis to provide input into their meticulous research about Jersey's future need for long-term residential care."
Pictured: Cheryl Kenealy, Chairperson of the JCF.
She added: "There was a sense of real hope and optimism that an organisation of Les Amis's calibre was leading the way to ensure we have enough provision for specialist care, especially in the ever-growing area of early-onset dementia."
"Our concern now is that there does not seem to be an alternative plan or acknowledgement of Les Amis's research findings. The JCF and our members will continue to support Les Amis in every way possible."
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Pictured top: An illustration of what the new facility was planned to look like. (Morris Architects)
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