Family’s festive prayers for Jai are answered

A brain damaged father-of-two’s wish to be allowed to live in his own home in Hawick is set to be granted in time for Christmas after a welcome council U-turn.

By Paul Kelly
Monday, 23rd November 2020, 4:16 pm
Jay and Jai Sharkey (PIC: BILL McBURNIE).
Jay and Jai Sharkey (PIC: BILL McBURNIE).

The move comes as an overwhelming relief to the family of 41-year-old Jai Sharkey.

Jai moved into his brother Jay’s home at Primrose Bank in Galashiels from Hawick Community Hospital in March, amid concerns he could contract Covid-19.

The situation has placed immense pressure on Jay, his wife Sharon and their 14-year-old son Jayden, who have basically had to give up their home to allow carers access to Jai 24 hours a day.

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Despite the pressure the family was determined that Jai should not be moved into Drummond Grange care home at Lasswade, an option supported by Scottish Borders Council.

They say Jai, who was left with severe hypoxia brain injury and spasticity after a failed suicide attempt in November 2014, is too young to spend the rest of his life in care and that he wants to live independently in his own home with support from carers.

Now that wish is to be realised as early as this week.

At an interim judicial review of the case in Edinburgh the council changed its position and agreed that Jai can move into a property he has been allocated in Hawick.

Subject to a risk assessment of the property the family’s plan is to go-ahead with the move this Friday.

Loyal brother Jay, 45, said “I am totally and relieved and surprised the council has actually agreed for what we have been fighting for the last three years. I am a bit overwhelmed, I could cry to be honest. It has moved forward dramatically.

“It’s a massive step forward in the direction we have wanted for Jai to have his past and present wishes adhered to, for him to live in the community not a care home.

“He’ll still get the same 24 hour care he gets at the minute but it will be in his own property and his own tenancy, in his own house.

“It’s such a weight off the shoulders which will be fully lifted once Jai goes over the threshold. Once he is in that house the sigh will be so overwhelming.”

Jay, a safeguarding officer at Heriot-Watt University, said: “It has been very challenging and very hard these eight months, especially these last three months.

“I told Jai what was happening, I always have brother time with Jai and explain what is happening. He looked really happy and he started making crying noises of relief.

“Fingers crossed this is a massive Christmas gift.”

The family’s lawyer, Keith Murray, said he was confident the move would happen, if not this week then in the very near future.

He added: “In terms of the judicial review proceedings the council conceded at the hearing that, subject to reasonable practicalities, they would provide a care package for him at home on an interim basis.

“It is a significant change in their position and is definitely to be welcomed.”

Scottish Borders Council was unavailable for comment.