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Property bought for abandoned hospital scheme now children's home

Property bought for abandoned hospital scheme now children's home

Friday 08 December 2023

Property bought for abandoned hospital scheme now children's home

Friday 08 December 2023


A Westmount property purchased by the Government as part of the previous 'Our Hospital' project is now being used as a children’s home.

The four-bedroom home was once the subject of a ministerial decision from former Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis, when it needed to be bought by the Government in 2021 for the now-abandoned hospital scheme.

Those plans – then-overseen by Deputy Lyndon Farnham – were scrapped in 2022 after the Our Hospital review, led by current Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet, found the proposals for a single-site hospital at Overdale were no longer achievable within the £804.5 million of funding approved by the previous States Assembly.

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Pictured: Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet's £30,000 review concluded that the 'Our Hospital' plan for Overdale should be scrapped in favour of a new multi-site solution.

The Government is instead seeking to build 'healthcare facilities' spread over several sites, including Overdale, Kensington Place and the current Gloucester Street site.

A retrospective planning application for the home at Westmount – one of 14 properties bought to facilitate the old scheme – has recently been submitted by the Government, seeking a change of use to a “residential institution”.

The cover letter accompanying the application explains that the house is being used as a residential home for young people and their support team. It adds that it hopes the application is viewed “favourably”, noting that “this type of accommodation is in short supply.”

The draft Government Plan – which proposes firm spending plans for next year and estimates for the following three – has allocated £6.8m over the next four years to run two new children's homes "to meet the unanticipated urgent needs of children in care".

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Pictured: A 2018 report found that as many as a quarter of children in care had to be sent off-island to receive appropriate care.

The money would go towards "running additional specialist Children's Homes to support our most vulnerable children", after more than £3.5m was spent last year on placing local children into homes off-island.

If approved in next week's debate, the £6.8m – the total of £1.7m each year from 2024 to 2027 – would "provide the resources required to staff and run the extra two children’s homes".

It is hoped that this funding will ensure "sufficient capacity for children’s residential care" and "increase the number and range of homes available for children".

The Government Plan explained that the pandemic had a "significant impact on children, young people, and their parents/carers with increased levels of complexity of need and referrals to services supporting children with vulnerabilities, emotional and mental health issues and or risk".

READ MORE...

Two new children's homes to meet "unanticipated urgent needs"

Over £3.5m spent sending children off-island as care "crisis" continues

Extra £1m spent on children in off-island placements last year

"Robust safeguards" needed to protect children in care off-island

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