Halesworth ISC will break ground this Autumn with completion estimated to be early 2018
- Credit: LSI Architects
Families in north Suffolk coping with life-limiting illnesses will be able to get vital help closer to home when a new £714,000 charity project opens in a year's time.
Work is set to start later this year after a successful fundraising campaign saw phenomenal support from the community and a range of grant-giving organisations.
Now organisers' dreams are set to come true with the creation of the Information and Support Centre (ISC), which will offer help understanding a diagnosis, family services, information and practical advice on finance, benefits and coping with bereavement.
The project, a 180sq m single-storey building, will be built next to Cutlers Hill Surgery, in Halesworth.
The ISC will serve anyone living within a 15-mile radius of Halesworth – saving them long trips to bigger centres at Ipswich or Norwich.
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Ted Edwards, chairman for the Halesworth ISC, said: 'This site before was a complete and utter mess.
'It originally had about eight outhouses on it, from stables to a pig sty and chicken hutch. It took around two to three weeks to clear the site, we still have some work to do in regards of levelling it off.
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'The 180sq m of the building will take up a lot of the site, with 19 car park spaces in front with access from the road. Surrounding land will be beautifully sculptured landscape gardens.
'The rest of the site will still be owned by the surgery, as they may be extending at some stage in the future.'
The project includes a meeting space for local support groups, a counselling room, small library, an area for people to relax and chat informally, with sliding glass doors leading to a landscaped garden and a therapy room, where patients can receive complementary treatments. The service will help with understanding a diagnosis, wellbeing advice, complementary therapies, legal guidance and support for children and families.
The project is led by the Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund (HCNCF), a charity established 28 years ago which provides support for people with life changing illness.
Barbara Kell, a trustee for HCNCF, said: 'We all felt the need for support for people who are at the end of their lives. We are able to put in 24 hour care for patients of the Cutlers Hill surgery who wanted to die at home, we were even able to provide equipment, like stair lifts, for people at the end of their lives.
'The care side of the charity is still going on, but we are all felt that there was a need to build this centre locally because, there are services at Norwich and Ipswich, but nothing in between.
'Many people had to travel 30 miles to get any information, help and support. It was too much for people who are ill, struggling, have young families, or who are elderly, and so we all felt, as we had the money, to start the building.
'However, it's not just for Halesworth patients; this is also for south Norfolk and north Suffolk; anyone living in a 15 miles radius of Halesworth, including Saxmundham to Southold, Bungay and Framlingham.'
In January this year, HCNCF received a £25,000 boost donation from the Heveningham Hall Country Fair Trust, but despite meeting their target, they have continued to raise funds.
Mr Edwards, said: 'We raise about £40,000 per year from local events and our charity shop, Dee's Den, in Halesworth, which makes about £25,000 per year. From this, it will continue to provide the funds to help support and run the building once it's open.'
The charity was founded by two community sisters, including Ted's wife, Jane Edwards.
Mr Edwards added: 'Everyone is very excited. This centre will improve the morale and become such a positive element to the town.'
The charity hopes to start building the centre, designed by LSI Architects, early September with the project due to be completed in March.
For more information visit: www.halesworthhealth.org