Charity in race to raise funds for centre to care for people with disabilities from Banbury, Bicester, Oxfordshire and beyond

A charity is a race against time to raise £3 million pounds to build a state-of-the-art care centre for adults with disabilities living in Banbury, Bicester and wider Oxfordshire.

By Roseanne Edwards
Monday, 28th March 2022, 9:54 am
An artist's impression of the planned care centre, Alexandra House of Joy, in Bicester
An artist's impression of the planned care centre, Alexandra House of Joy, in Bicester

Last year, charity Alexandra House of Joy overcame its first major hurdle to win planning permission for the new facility on land off Wretchwick Way in Bicester.

The centre will include bedrooms for respite and end of life care, day care facilities including art, music, craft and sensory rooms, a kitchen garden and café, offices, quiet area, and hydrotherapy pool. Some facilities will also be open to groups in the community.

But the charity must overcome a second massive hurdle to make the dream a reality. They need to raise £3m by October 2023 and are urging the community to get behind them in support of the project.

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Rachel and Ian Scott-Hunter and their daughter Alexandra

The charity has started applying for grants to help fund the construction costs and also plans to lobby local councillors and Oxfordshire’s MPs to garner support.

Alexandra House of Joy was set up in 2018 by Rachael and Ian Scott-Hunter after witnessing first-hand the reduction in care provision received by their daughter Alexandra, who had profound learning difficulties.

Alexandra died in 2019, aged 47, but her parents have vowed to continue with plans to build the care centre as her legacy.

Alexandra House of Joy would offer support to adults with learning disabilities from across Oxfordshire and beyond, and their families.

Mrs Scott-Hunter said: “Our fund raising campaign stalled after our beloved Alexandra died and we took some time out to grieve. Just as we were about to restart efforts the Coronavirus pandemic hit and that has meant our fund raising efforts were severely curtailed.

“Things have been further complicated because we were unable to apply for grants until we had planning permission for the building.

“Now that is all in place we are raring to get started and really would urge the community to support this amazing initiative.

“Current services are so poor for this group of people and this has had a severe impact of them and their families, and it has got to stop," she said.

“This care centre is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a home from home for these wonderful adults. It’s a place where they will have an equal chance at life’s opportunities - I want people to see the ability in these people, not the disability. We know from our daughter what she gave to people, the joy she brought; she was such a character, she was so funny and so loved.”

As well as arts, crafts and music, the centre will offer respite and end of life care, and training and employment through the kitchen garden and café.

If the funding can be raised in time the doors to the centre will open early in 2026.

For more information or to help please call 01869 325135, email [email protected] or view https://alexandrahouseofjoy.co.uk/

* Alexandra suffered a brain haemorrhage when she was just four days old and grew up with profound and severe learning disabilities. Over the past 20 years the care and respite care she received diminished and this had a major impact on her and her family.