Ipswich: Plans unveiled for new children’s residential home on site of Henley Road Indoor Cricket Centre

ipswich: Plans for a new therapeutic residential home for children are due to be submitted this month, making the centre the first of its kind in Suffolk.

The proposals for Duke’s Meadow include two buildings on the site of the Henley Road Indoor Cricket Centre.

Designed to house up to 20 children, aged between seven and 11, the centre aims to offer them a tangible opportunity to return safely to the care of their families.

Project lead Jeremy Jayasuriya, of Social Work Projects, said the plans were inspired by a lack of provision in East Anglia for children at Key Stage 2 who are looked after by local authorities.

He said: “Like us, theses children have a need to belong, and form stable and secure attachments.

“It is our view that the family is the most fundamental group to which we can belong. Children who have been separated from their parents, for good reasons, must have the opportunity to return to their family, and the family has a duty to make this possible.”

He added: “Duke’s Meadow will offer children and their families the opportunity to rebuild and repair damage caused.

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“Duke’s Meadow will seek to guide and support children who have difficulties with their attachment and the emotional and behavioural harm that follows.”

The children living at the centre will be educated on site as well as having full use of the nearby cricket centre’s facilities as part of their play therapy.

Mr Jayasuriya said children are not expected to stay at the centre longer than a year.

He added: “The children placed at Duke’s Meadow will live and be educated there, in a secure and carefully managed environment.”

And he said the impact on the local community is expected to be limited.

“The children are too young to have unsupervised access to the local community, and will be looked after within the confines of the centre,” he added.

“They will of course join the local community, but only with adult supervision and care.”

The project is being run in partnership with the owners of the Bats and Ball centre, Unibell Ventures.

The planning application is due to be submitted this month to Ipswich Borough Council and, if agreed, construction could be completed by May next year with the first children being welcomed in November 2012.

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

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