A COUPLE is appealing for help to find the perfect place to build a brand new £6million centre for people with learning disabilities.

Rachael and Ian Scott-Hunter say the groundbreaking care centre will plug gaps left by years of austerity and be the first of its kind in Oxfordshire.

It would provide daytime support to adults with severe learning disabilities, as well as end of life care and vital respite for carers like themselves.

Mrs Scott-Hunter said they were inspired to start their centre, to be called the Alexandra House of Joy, through their experiences caring for disabled daughter Alexandra, 45, and their battle against cuts to day centres by Oxfordshire County Council.

But they still haven’t found the perfect site for the 10 bed centre and day service.

Mrs Scott-Hunter, who lives in Chesterton, said: “We ideally want to find somewhere in Bicester - so if anyone has any suggestions or could help us secure a site it would be an incredible help to us.

“As well as providing a service, I want to educate people so they understand how to care for people with learning disabilities.

“What we would like to do is work with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford Brookes University and offer placements to students so they can learn how to help patients in the future with learning disabilities.

“This is a real chance for us to make a significant difference in the way people with learning disabilities are treated.”

The couple has assembled a board of trustees – many of whom they know through their church community – which includes Sister Frances, founder of Helen House and are currently waiting for their charity status to be approved.

The changed daytime support services came into effect at the beginning of this month, seeing more than 500 people moved from across 22 centres to the eight hubs.

But Alexandra has yet to be moved because a ceiling hoist needs to be fitted.

Mrs Scott-Hunter added: “Alexandra has attended the Kidlington Day Centre for 26 years so when this transition happens it is going to be a massive upheaval for her.

“It is shocking really the way the most vulnerable people in our society have been targeted and had their voice taken away.

“She does not respond well to change and I hope this transition will be made as easy as possible for her.”

County council spokesman Paul Smith said: “The change from the former service to the new set up has progressed well and we’ve had positive feedback from service users. Everybody has a place whether they have an eligible assessed need or not.

“We enthusiastically welcome innovative additions to voluntary/private sector provision and we have grant funding pots available for organisations who wish to apply.

“Oxfordshire has a flourishing voluntary sector in the sphere of daytime support and the large majority of the organisations do not and have not received council grant funding. They thrive regardless.”

To help support the Alexandra House of Joy or suggest suitable site locations contact: alexandraHouseofJoy@gmail.com