More vulnerable women to benefit from centre set up following Ipswich murders
- Credit: Archant
A support centre for vulnerable women originally funded by Ipswich Star readers is hoping to expand again later this year.
The Hope Centre, based in Witnesham, is hoping to be able to offer residential care for 11 women by the end of summer. The women-only centre recently expanded from seven to eight places at the end of January.
Gill Dean, general manager of the Hope Centre, said they plan to convert rooms currently used as offices into new en-suite residential rooms to allow them to expand their services.
She said: “We have two large separate buildings. One of them has rooms for eight women with en-suite bathrooms.
She said: “We have two large separate buildings. One of them has rooms for eight women with en-suite bathrooms. “Before it was fully finished, the second building was opened as offices, a lounge, a dining room and a kitchen area. Half of it had been fully fitted before we ran out of money.
“Now, we’re opening up the half that wasn’t open as three more bedrooms.”
In the future the centre hopes to convert a nearby barn into offices, making enough rooms for up to 16 women to stay.
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The women cared for by the centre come from many backgrounds and range in age from their 20s to 60s but many have had similar life experiences.
Mrs Dean said: “They’re women who are vulnerable at different stages of their life.
“They could easily be any other woman – me, for example – but life has dealt them something that’s bigger than they can cope with alone.
“It could be a bereavement, an illness, mental health issues, abuse, or an accident that changed their ability to carry on in their life.
“With so many of us we have family or friends who can help us if we’re down on our luck but some people don’t. They’re not blessed in the same way to have that circle of support.
“When people have chaotic lives, for whatever reason, they often encounter other hardships in their lives.”
The centre is run by a Christian charity called Talitha Koum – a biblical phrase which means “little girl, get up”.
It was originally funded in part by £20,000 from the Ipswich Star’s Somebody’s Daughter campaign.
At the end of 2006, in the wake of the Ipswich sex worker murders the then Evening Star and Ipswich Borough Council set up the Somebody’s Daughter Memorial Fund.
More details on Talitha Koum and the Hope Centre can be found here.