L'Arche on course for success

A CHARITY is today on the verge of buying a house in Ipswich for people with learning disabilities after overcoming a major hurdle.L'Arche Ipswich was given a significant boost when Ipswich Borough Council granted planning permission for change of use for the house in Warrington Road.

A CHARITY is today on the verge of buying a house in Ipswich for people with learning disabilities after overcoming a major hurdle.

L'Arche Ipswich was given a significant boost when Ipswich Borough Council granted planning permission for change of use for the house in Warrington Road.

The charity now plans to go-ahead with buying the detached, three-storey property and hopes to exchange contracts soon.

The house is currently owned by the Children's Society, which has run it as a children's residential home and more recently as a family support centre.

Five adults will live in the house with five assistants in a project aimed at supported living rather than residential care.

L'Arche's philosophy puts the assistants at the heart of the community where everyone is equal and respected.

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Over the past 18 months the project has been strongly supported by churches, schools and other organisations, which have raised over £250,000.

Everything from golf days to a nursery school grand prix have taken place in a bid to raise the money.

Tim Mason, community leader for L'Arche Ipswich, said: “It is really heartening that we can go right ahead with buying the house so that disabled people can receive the support they need to live fuller lives in a community setting, in a normal house in a normal street.

“When we talked to neighbours in the area and explained what L'Arche will be, there was real enthusiasm for our community.

“A surprising number of people want to be involved in some way. Some have offered themselves as volunteers and we have even had offers of furniture.”

The project, developed with Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk Social Services and Supporting People, has proved so popular the charity had a waiting list of over 80 families before cutting it down to 40.

David Warnes, a near neighbour and chaplain of Ipswich School, said: “I see L'Arche as a real asset to the neighbourhood both personally and for the school. I hope to have close links with their community.”

Chris Lane, spokesman for social services, said: “We wish L'Arche every success with their project. It will be an interesting venture, and they have a successful track record.

“We will be keeping in touch to see whether there are people we support who could benefit from their family-style service.”

L'Arche Ipswich is part of an international federation in 30 countries. Founded in France in 1964, there now eight in the UK and Ipswich will be the ninth.

N What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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www.larcheipswich.org.uk

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