Care home demolition prompts new cash appeal

By Jon Slattery

The Journalists’ Charity, formerly the Newspaper Press Fund, is to
press ahead with plans to demolish and rebuild its Sandy Cross
residential care home at a cost of nearly £6m.

The NPF council has approved the scheme to rebuild the nursing home
in Dorking. In September, Sandy Cross will be closed and the eight
remaining residents will be transferred to other nursing homes while
the building work takes place. The 26 full and part-time staff will be
made redundant.

The reconstruction will cost £3.9m and take 18
months. Other related expenditure – including the temporary loss of
fees at the home, redundancy payments and other contingencies – will
push the total cost to almost £6m.

NPF director David Ilott said a generous package of redundancy terms was being provided for the staff.

“The
original home was opened in 1969 and would have great difficulty in
meeting both the latest care standards or fire regulations,” he said.
“Updating the existing building would not have been cost-effective.”

An
appeal to meet the cost of the new Sandy Cross, which will house up to
24 retired journalists or partners, was launched last year at a
reception hosted by the Queen. It has so far received pledges and
donations of £670,000. The NPF has already committed £1m to the project.

NPF
council chairman Nicholas Jones said fundraising will now bestepped up,
with a relaunch to coincide with the rescheduled London Press Ball on
28 September.

The ball, a major fundraising event for the NPF, was cancelled on 7 July because of the London terror attacks.

“We
shall now be calling on every journalist in the country, as well as
every media proprietor, to dig deep into their pockets,” said Jones.

“The
Journalists’ Charity already spends £200,000 a year in grants and
assistance to needy journalists, their partners and dependents. Last
year we provided help in well over 160 individual cases.

“As the
main charity for journalists, we intend to do our utmost to protect our
core work in helping journalists who fall on hard times. That makes
itall the more important that our appeal for the new Sandy Cross is a
success.”

Jones said that he and his fellow trustees were
convinced that replacing the existing Sandy Cross with a new
state-of-the-art care home was essential for the renewal of the NPF.

“To
the journalists we say, this is your chance to do something for your
own charity and give real help to your colleagues when they need it.

“To
the proprietors we say, many of you have helped us for years. Now is
the time for you all to dig deep and support the charity that offers
care to journalists and dependants who need it.”

Donations can be
made to the NPF head office, Dickens House, 35 Wathen Road, Dorking,
Surrey RH4 1JY or e-mail enquiries@pressfund.org.uk

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