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Ipswich: Lottery gives £3.6 million to restore Waterfront church

09:49 19 November 2012

Sue Gray in St Mary at the Quay.

Sue Gray in St Mary at the Quay.


A NEW community centre is to be created in one of the town’s most historic churches after it got a £3.6 million lottery grant.


St-Mary-at-the-Quay by the Waterfront has been redundant since the 1970s – but will now be given a new life as a heritage and wellbeing centre.

The scheme has been put together by Suffolk Mind and the Churches’ Conservation Trust which owns the building – which dates from somewhere between 1450 and 1550.

The Heritage Lottery Fund confirmed the award today after two years of working with the church and Mind to ensure the bid was successful.

The church will be converted into a centre that Mind says will provide a quiet and beautiful sanctuary in a busy, historic market town.

It should have a flexible and welcoming community space which is open to all. It will offer wellbeing and heritage activities, a centre for local events, complementary therapy as well as a café.

The project obtained funding on the basis that it will:

nRestore and rejuvenate an ancient building

nCreate a sanctuary with a sensory medieval garden

nReinstate significant heritage features making them accessible to all

nLink wellbeing and heritage in an innovative way

nTell the diverse history of Ipswich waterfront in an engaging and interactive way

nProvide restored and modern facilities for community wellbeing and heritage activities

Sue Gray, business development, Suffolk Mind said: “This is an exciting project that we hope will give people living in the community the opportunity to learn about how to improve their emotional health and wellbeing.”

She said work should start on the project – which already has planning permission – next summer and it is due to be completed by the second half of 2014.

The cost is high because there needs to be considerable work to strengthen the building – and there will also be an extension built to the side.

Mrs Gray added: “The important thing is that this will provide facilities for the whole community. By linking heritage and wellbeing, we should be able to give people a real feeling that this is place where they feel that they belong.

“We would like to thank all those who have supported our bid including Ben Gummer MP, Ipswich Borough Council, councillors and of course our partners the Church Conservation Trust. The HLF grant will help us to make this project a reality.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said: “This is an innovative project which unites two very different charities with the shared aim of creating a community wellbeing centre.

“We loved the idea of a redundant medieval church being brought back to life and once more becoming a key element in rejuvenating Ipswich’s waterfront area.”

How important is the work for the town? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail



  • @scott brock - the waterfront has more money per square inch spent on it than any other in all of ipswich. it's total rubbish that the benefit of having an expensive waterfront outweighs the needs of the local community. Do you even live in ipswich? The place is going downhill and can't even fill shops in central locations. The waterfront does nothing to help this nor bring it great revenues. The people at the top just love to use it to show it off to their well off peers.

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    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • We loved the idea of a redundant medieval church being brought back to life and once more becoming a key element in rejuvenating Ipswich’s waterfront area.”... yes of course more rejuvenation of the waterfront whilst the rest of the estates in the town slip further down the list. How about a little money in Gainsborough... or Chantry... or Greenwich? This town is a joke run by the comedians at Grafton House.

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    Fat Lady Sings

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • Have you lot at the Star ever heard of spell check?

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    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • @ redhot & fatlady - What's this got to do with IBC? Suffolk Mind own the building, they applied for and got the money, it's up to them how the spend it and where. You talk about nothing happening in the estates, but what about Gippeswick Hall in Chantry? Red Rose Chain are turning it into a threatre - for the people of Ipswich and Chantry. There's plenty for local communities AND everyone gets to benefit from the waterfront, the sense of pride and the majot events and things that happen there. Something for everyone. Chantry etc don't have a big wall built around them, people can move around quite easily, you don't have to just sit indoors all day watching Jerermy Kyle

    Report this comment

    Scott Brock

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • This money would have been better spent if they had demolished the place and build a new road infrastructure through there

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    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • Once again the waterfront gets more money pumped in while the centre and surrounding areas slump more into a financial and aesthetic nightmare. But as long as the yachts get a nice view thats fine.

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    Monday, November 19, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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