Funding boost for �3.5m church bid

Ipswich: Plans to save one of the town’s most treasured buildings gathered steam today.

The medieval St Mary at the Quay church has been awarded a �68,500 development grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help transform it into a mental health wellbeing centre.

The �3.5million project has been undertaken by East Suffolk Mind and the Churches Conservation Trust, a national charity protecting historic churches at risk.

Their shared vision is to create a spiritual centre that serves the needs of the community, through workshops, performances, alternative therapies and relaxation.

The grant will allow works to start on the Grade II listed building, which has been disused since 1973.

East Suffolk Mind and the Churches Conservation Trust can then apply for a full �2.8m HLF award to complete the project.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund, East of England, said: “This is a really exciting project which makes interesting links between heritage and mental wellbeing.

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“The Heritage Lottery Fund’s initial support gives the green light to East Suffolk Mind’s development work.”

Jo Searle, of East Suffolk Mind, added: “The plans for St Mary at the Quay will help reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues by providing a space and services for everyone to address their mind, body and spirit.

“We are delighted that this project is being supported, and look forward to continuing the development work with Heritage Lottery Fund.”

She described it as “an innovative project which will see both rejuvenation of a building of such significant heritage value, and the provision of new and exciting well-being opportunities for people in Suffolk”

The New Economics Foundation will also be carrying out an academic study of the regeneration to explore the links between architecture and the mind.

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