Hospice community hub in former Heath Road post office

The new Ipswich hospice shop, cafe and community centre which will soon be open at the junction of F

The new Ipswich hospice shop, cafe and community centre which will soon be open at the junction of Foxhall Road and Heath Road Retail area manager Andrea Wedgwood with some of the volunteers, Lianne Willis, Kim Maycock, Debbie Ramsey and Terry Kingston Picture: DAVID VINCENT - Credit: Archant

The St Elizabeth Hospice retail team is launching a new concept in Foxhall Road, Ipswich - a shop with a cafe and community hub.

The new Ipswich hospice shop, cafe and community centre which will soon be open at the junction of F

The new Ipswich hospice shop, cafe and community centre which will soon be open at the junction of Foxhall Road and Heath Road Retail area manager Andrea Wedgwood with some of the volunteers, Lianne Willis, Kim Maycock, Debbie Ramsey and Terry Kingston Picture: DAVID VINCENT - Credit: Archant

The former toy shop and post office, at the corner of Foxhall Road and Heath Road, is only a couple of hundred metres from the hospice itself.

Jason Rudderham, head of retail for the hospice said: “This is a new concept for us.

“It is our 31st shop and with the changing face of the High Street retail we have to look at that and change too.

“It will be much more than a basic retail site, with the cafe hub.

The new Ipswich hospice shop, cafe and community centre which will soon be open at the junction of F

The new Ipswich hospice shop, cafe and community centre which will soon be open at the junction of Foxhall Road and Heath Road Retail area manager Andrea Wedgwood with some of the volunteers, Lianne Willis, Kim Maycock, Debbie Ramsey and Terry Kingston Picture: DAVID VINCENT - Credit: Archant

“What we are hoping it will do is really engage the community and it will offer opportunities for people to get involved. It is our first cafe.

“We hope it is going to be a community space, where people can come to find out more about hospice services, and volunteering.

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“They will be able to find out about the hospice without going there, to find out about supporting things.”

The hospice has a network of shops across Suffolk, and to Essex, 31 in all and 1,000 volunteers. The shops played a vital role in helping raise the £10m plus it needs every year to provide services for patients and their families.

“There is a growing need,” he added.

The shop and cafe is due to open on Friday March 22, at 10am.

If the model proved successful they hope to roll it out to other sites.

“For Ipswich, this was important because it is close to the hospice. It can act as a centre for patients’ families too,” he added.

Inside volunteers are busy unpacking and preparing displays within a number of rooms, over two floors.

Retail area manager Andrea Wedgwood said: “We’ve got a big toy section, menswear and ladies wear, gifts too.

“The cafe is all about cake - the cakes will be made by the catering team at the hospice.

“And there is a big display of books to read, to buy and to bring back again.

“We have the space for meetings and classes. We aim to have workshops in upcycling, something we do a lot of, at the shop.

“We already have 40 volunteers, and our first major donation here.

“People love the fact that we re-use, and sell, their gifts for the hospice.

“We don’t just support the patients, we support the families, and they can come here too”

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