Groups will pay to save Red Cross

GROUPS which used Felixstowe's Red Cross Centre said today they would be prepared to pay bigger hire charges if it would keep the building open.Organisations – which come from all over the region to use the seafront centre – are asked to pay just £45 a day for the facilities.

GROUPS which used Felixstowe's Red Cross Centre said today they would be prepared to pay bigger hire charges if it would keep the building open.

Organisations – which come from all over the region to use the seafront centre – are asked to pay just £45 a day for the facilities.

It is used six days a week for six months of the year for trips to the seaside, as a base for visiting groups of elderly and disabled people.

Many have been shocked and disappointed at the decision to close, and are urging the Red Cross to rethink the move – and offering to pay higher fees.


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Maureen Goddard, homes manager for Bethesda Eventide Homes in Henley Road, Ipswich, said the group regularly took 21 residents to the "wonderful" centre, which is sited on the prom at Bath Tap.

She said: "As a regular, satisfied and not-wanting-to-stop use of the Red Cross centre, we trust and hope that this unequalled facility will be re-opened for this summer.

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"I have asked the Red Cross to seriously reconsider its decision. It is difficult to measure the loss of this facility to many people who benefited from it over the years.

"If it is a question of cost, then I am sure hirers would be prepared to pay a considerable increase to keep this unrivalled provision open."

Other groups have also volunteered to pay more and have been surprised this option has not been costed and consulted upon.

The Red Cross, which has run the centre for 40 years, said it took the difficult decision to close because it cannot afford to run it any more and needed a significant cash injection to make it fully accessible to wheelchair users.

It is handing the building over to Suffolk Coastal council, which owns the land on which it stands and leased the site to the charity on a 999-year lease.

Doreen Savage, cabinet member with responsibility for diversity, said: "Bearing in mind the important community role that this facility has fulfilled over many years Suffolk Coastal would wish, if at all possible, to see the use of the building continue along the lines of its present occupation and operation.

"However, we will need to consider all the implications of the current lease and potential future use of the building before any final decision can be made."

Officers must look at whether the building meets new legislation for disabled access and toilets and how much any improvements work might cost.

n What do you think of the decision to close the Red Cross Centre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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