Behind the scenes at former hospital site as work begins on new day centre
PUBLISHED: 15:10 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:10 27 September 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Building work is under way as part of a former hospital site is transformed into a new day centre.
After Lowestoft Hospital closed in 2016, the Tennyson Road site sold at auction in October last year for £475,000.
Now, almost a year on, a Lowestoft-based charity has started work on the old hospital site - with the aim of being up-and-running by Christmas.
For Brainwave Independence Group - which supports people with disabilities - "it is all systems go" as work begins on 'The Point' day centre.
The new facilities will feature a wide range of activities that offer support to those with brain injury and their care support network, as well as becoming a donations centre and the administrative hub of the charity.
Established four years ago, the group raises funds for people with brain injury to raise awareness of hidden disabilities.
The charity has signed a lease for the first floor of the Tennyson Road site, with building work now under way at the old physiotherapy room that will become the new donations centre.
The group will also run from the former Family Health Resource Centre at the Tennyson Building on the old hospital site, with a "labyrinth of rooms" to be developed in the coming weeks.
Howard Thomas, director of Brainwave Independence Group, said: "It really is all systems go.
"We are doing the work in the former physio room first to get it open and the donations in.
"There is a labyrinth of rooms available at the former Family Health Resource Centre, and as it already has purpose built facilities that are ideal for the service-users."
Among the facilities that will be developed in the coming weeks include an arts room, a woodwork site, café, kitchen, a music room, quiet rooms and treatment rooms.
With a reception area, a meeting room and an office providing advocacy to clients and their carers, Mr Thomas said: "It will be a real social hub.
"It is a big project, but having the keys to the building is fantastic.
"It is pretty amazing to think how far we have come - from where we were a year ago to now. We have had a good number of donations so far, including a cooker and washer/drier, and we are applying for a grant for a mini-bus, so we can take the service users out and about.
"We have an awful lot of people involved, volunteers with huge experience, and once we are up and running the aim is to be open seven days a week."
Mr Thomas added: "Hopefully this will be the catylsyt for the rest of the hospital site being developed as well."