Paralympics star will open home named in her honour
A PARALYMPIC gold medallist is to open a new care home in Barton.
Golden girl Jessica-Jane Applegate, pictured, will open the previously empty building, which will create 12 jobs and provide care for six residents with autism.
Swimmer Jessica-Jane, who has Asperger's syndrome, 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 appointed MBE in the New Year Honours List for her services to swimming.
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Named in her honour, Applegate House, which at 50 Holydyke, will 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. The group is currently recruiting for 12 full-time positions, although bosses say this may increase depending on the specific support needs of future residents.
Planning permission was obtained in August.
Russell Preece, head of adult services at Options Group, said: "Building works are now completed and the service fit out is under way. We hope to have Care Quality Commission registration by the end of the month and to be open in February."
The property includes an old air-raid shelter which will remain.
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, owned by the Options Group, may well benefit from the changes, bosses say.
Mr Preece 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."