A CHARITY’S dream of transforming an abandoned building into a thriving community hub is one step closer to reality today.

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Bosses at A Brighter Life For Everyone (ABLE) are expecting to re-open the doors of the Laydens, in Langley Avenue, in April and offer a range of services to help vulnerable young and old people in the area.

The former Meals on Wheels base will also be used as a drop-in cafe and will host a range of entertainment and educational services for youngsters.

Brian Heppell, a member of ABLE who will become manager of the Laydens, said: “It’s all systems go.

“There is going to be a lot of training in there and the 10-year aim is to hand it back to the community and let them run it.

“The group (ABLE) has been fighting for this for two years.

“Now we are looking to open in April which is great news – it will be a big achievement.”

The finishing touches are now being put in place inside ready for the grand opening.

The site already boasts a professional kitchen which will be used to cook food for the cafe. It is hoped youngsters living at Sanctuary Housing can also learn to cook there.

There are plans in place for hairdressers to come to the centre to run tutorial sessions, a place for disabled people to buy items essential for their everyday lives and also a library for people to rent books.

Mr Heppell added: “The idea is that there will also be a permanent library in there for people who can’t necessarily get into town.”

Organisations that have been involved in ABLE include the Firs Care Home, Sanctuary Housing and Cavendish Community Association.

The group embarked on a series of initiatives aimed to raise funds for the cause and they have also benefited from donations from the town council and the Cavendish Community Association.

The group sprang into action in 2011 after a health and wellbeing report, published by NHS Suffolk, identified that the town’s young homeless population were suffering from serious health issues.

■ Give us your thoughts? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or alternatively you can send an email to starletters@archant.co.uk

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