Paralympic gold medallist Jessica-Jane Applegate to open Barton care home
A PARALYMPIC gold medallist is to open a new care home in Barton.
Golden girl Jessica-Jane Applegate will open the previously empty building, which will create 12 jobs and provide care for six residents suffering with autism.
And it will be named Applegate House in her honour.
Swimmer Jessica-Jane, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome – which is a form of autism – won a gold medal at the 2012 Paralympics and set a new games record in the 200m freestyle S14 final. The 16-year-old, from Norfolk, was made an MBE in the New Year Honours list for her services to swimming.
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Applegate House, which will be located at 50 Holydyke, is set to open on February 13 and will provide care for adults with autistic spectrum conditions. It will provide a transition stage for people to move into supported living accommodation and will care for people aged 18 and over.
The property is believed to have been empty for two years and was previously used as offices for Barton's Children Centre and an after-school club.
Applegate House is operated by the Options Group, which owns several care homes in the Midlands area.
The Options Group is currently recruiting for 12 full-time positions, although bosses say this may increase depending upon the specific support needs of future residents.
Planning permission was obtained in August.
Russell Leese, head of adult services at Options Group, said: "Building works are now completed and the service fit out is underway.
"We hope to have Care Quality Commission registration by the end of January and to be open in February."
The property includes an old air-raid shelter which will remain intact.
Discussions are under way about restoring the shelter, which could then be opened up to the local community.
Some of the current residents at The Scunthorpe-based Adolescent to Adult Life Preparation Service (AALPS) North – which is owned by the Options Group – may well benefit from the changes, bosses say.
Mr Leese said: "The current residents and staff at AALPS North chose to name Applegate House after Jessica-Jane as they were truly inspired by her achievements at the London 2012 Paralympics.
"Having a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome means that she is a true inspiration, not just to all those on the autistic spectrum, but to everyone."
Jessica-Jane said: "I am thrilled and honoured to have the organisation's new building named after me. The organisation provides specialist care to people with autistic spectrum conditions and I think this is a very worthwhile service to the community."