New role for Cawston Park

The new owners of a former north Norfolk private psychiatric hospital say their plans will create 150 jobs, boost the local economy, and provide an important service to adults with learning difficulties.

The Jeesal Group welcomed invited guests to an open day last Thursday at the former Cawston Park, to explain their hopes for the Victorian manor, set in 128 acres of landscaped grounds, with a lake.

And Jeesal, which bought the property earlier this year from administrators acting on behalf of former owner Chancellor Care, says its long-established roots in Norfolk and financial security will bring stability to the site, which has had a chequered history over the past 11 years.

Jeesal, founded in 1985, plans to move its headquarters from Buxton to the site later this month and it will become Jeesal Cawston Park.

It will be run as a specialist hospital, providing treatment for adults with learning difficulties from throughout Norfolk, with problems including mental-health breakdowns.

Jeesal has also bought its sister unit, Kelling Park, near Holt, which will become a supported-living home for about 15 adults.

The company was currently in negotiation with commissioners including NHS Norfolk and Norfolk County Council and was in the process of getting Cawston Park registered by regulating body the Care Quality Commission, according to chief executive Tugay Akman.

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Meanwhile the listed manor house, which had fallen into some disrepair, was being 'restored to its former glory' and he hoped everything would be finalised for the centre to open later this year or early next.

Some of the patients will come from care homes and supported flats around Norfolk run by Jeesal, including properties in Cromer, Taverham, Fakenham, West Runton, Buxton, Bacton and Holt. The company has also recently added a home in Middleton's Lane, Norwich, to its portfolio.

'Cawston Park completes our jigsaw. We have always wished to have a hospital to offer complete care,' said Mr Akman. 'Sometimes people with learning difficulties have a breakdown, go to hospital and when they come out they have to start from fresh – relearning all the social and other skills they had before. Now we will be able to offer a complete pathway of care, integrated with their care plans.'

If necessary, patients would be cared for in low-security areas of the hospital, moved to open wards as they improved and then gradually rehabilitated back into the community.

The centre would include flats where patients could live with support and there would be activities including horse-riding, angling and work skills.

l A recruitment day is due to be held shortly but anyone interested in a job can post their CV to Jeesal Cawston Park, Norwich NR10 4JD. Vacancies will include posts for nursing, therapy, care, administrative and catering staff. Jeesal has already recruited a handful of ex-Chancellor Care employees, including clinical psychologist Dr Jim Roach.