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'Place of reflection' instead of Weighbridge care memorial

'Place of reflection' instead of Weighbridge care memorial

Thursday 16 September 2021

'Place of reflection' instead of Weighbridge care memorial


Plans for a memorial at the Weighbridge dedicated to the victims of abuse while in care have been altered in favour of creating a space elsewhere on the island to “reflect” on what happened.

The Children’s Minister has said he is in “full support” of the new idea from a new group of Citizens’ Panel members, Cheyenne O’Connor and other abuse survivors.

The group have described how the new space should be both "accessible and also avoidable," and not based on any of the previous designs.

Video: The three shortlisted designs for the Care Memorial.

The recommendation for a Care Memorial initially came in 2018 from a Citizens' Panel made up of survivors from Jersey's care system and members of the wider community.

However, the idea drew controversy after some care survivors claimed that it would only serve as a reminder of their trauma, resulting in a protest against the idea, and more than 2,800 islanders signing a petition calling for the idea to be scrapped.

In November 2020, then-Children's Minister Deputy Jeremy Maçon instead suggested that the memorial's £200,000 budget go into training people in skills to look after children. At that point, with more than £42,000 spent on the project, the idea was put on pause.

But yesterday some survivors said they had found a new way forward alongside current Children's Minister Deputy Scott Wickenden.

In a statement, the group said that members of the Citizens' Panel had been "distraught that their recommendations had caused survivors such hurt."

They said they were in in agreement they must have:

  1. a place to go to remember and reflect on what happened. This new space should be both accessible and also avoidable. We believe that this place should not be at the Weighbridge and should not be any of the previous designs.
  2. There must be a permanent public apology including a statement of failure from the government.

They added that: "It is essential that these two elements are delivered by an organisation independent of government, led by survivors. The further design of these important spaces should now be led by an independent group of survivors and others."

scott-wickenden.jpg

Pictured: Children's Minister Deputy Scott Wickenden offered "full support" to survivors and members of the Citizens' Panel in their reimagining. 

Deputy Wickenden commented: "I warmly welcome the progress which has been made by survivors and members of the Citizens' Panel in reimagining a way to remember and recognise all those who were failed by the care system.

"I was pleased to meet survivors earlier this week and to have the opportunity to understand their careful deliberation in reaching an agreed way forward.

"I would like to extend my thanks to the group for their ongoing commitment to realising this important legacy recommendation made by the Care Inquiry.

"I offer my full support as they work to realise their proposals, which I believe will respectfully acknowledge the need for a place to remember."

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