More care and relaxation at centre

A DAY care centre in Ipswich is today looking forward to a £90,000 extension that will provide extra space for people with learning disabilities.Burgess House, in Felixstowe Road, currently helps a small group of regular visitors who come to the centre two or three times a week.

A DAY care centre in Ipswich is today looking forward to a £90,000 extension that will provide extra space for people with learning disabilities.

Burgess House, in Felixstowe Road, currently helps a small group of regular visitors who come to the centre two or three times a week.

Currently they have nine beds for people to stay in overnight if they need to.

It is a respite centre offering a break for both the person being cared for and their carers.

A range of activities are offered to help give the visitors a more meaningful day or the chance to relax.

The Mencap owned building – whose services are run by Suffolk County Council – is currently running a pilot scheme geared towards the over 40s and aims to provide a quieter, less busy atmosphere than other day centres.

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The idea of the extension is to provide a larger lounge area so the centre can accommodate double the amount of older people needing help.

An extra bed will be put in to cope with lengthy stays in emergency cases, such as if a carer dies and there is no one else to look after the person that needs it.

Peter Andrews, Chairman of Ipswich Mencap, said: "At the moment people are using community resource units but as people are living longer there is more pressure put on these centres. Older visitors like a more peaceful environment that we can provide them.

"Patients and carers hugely appreciate the service at the moment and the new extension will improve the facilities on offer.

"So far we have raised £66,000 towards the project and we hope to raise the balance over the next year to coincide with the planning stages. We are confident we can raise the money and get the project away in the near future."

The money is being raised through the Mencap darts league, individual donations, prize draws and a variety of other events.

Chris Lane, spokesman for the social services said: "Respite care is often a vital service, enabling both the person with learning disabilities and their carer to have a sometimes desperately needed break, to recover from the sometimes exhausting 24-hour caring relationship. In some cases, this respite is all that prevents a need for long term residential care."

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