New centre improves opportunities

A NEW resource centre for adults with learning disabilities has been officially opened in south west Ipswich.The Marguerite Jefferies Centre, in Great Whip Street, is now home to New Southwest - a project where community groups and adults with learning disabilities meet side-by-side.

A NEW resource centre for adults with learning disabilities has been officially opened in south west Ipswich.

The Marguerite Jefferies Centre, in Great Whip Street, is now home to New Southwest - a project where community groups and adults with learning disabilities meet side-by-side.

Barbara Eagle, manager of New Southwest, said: “Everyone at New Southwest is keen to promote a new and different type of service.

“We hope to use the building in a different way by using it as both a launch pad for customers to access the local and wider community and also as a resource to the local community for education, leisure and social activities.”

About 20 adults use the centre each day and, with the help of staff, are able to go into town, go to lunch and take part in everyday activities.

Tony Carr, of Suffolk County Council's social care services, said: “It is about supporting people with learning disabilities during the daytime and moving away from the big centres to provide more individual support to people.

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“We have made this a base, a resource, which people can use to access the community.

“We acknowledge that some people with more complex needs will need some specialised facilities and some dignified personal care and that support isn't always available in the community.”

Those facilities are included at the refurbished Marguerite Jefferies Centre which has an array of specialised bathrooms, a hydro pool and a kitchen with work-tops and cupboards on two levels so they can also be used by wheelchair users.

The community is also invited to share the facilities.

Mrs Eagle added: “We are already sharing office space with colleagues and have a hot desk facility for community development staff, community police officers and other interested local people and groups.

“New Southwest has also actively participated in the south west Ipswich networking lunches. These meetings provide an opportunity for groups and residents to get together to discuss what is going on in the community and ways of working together.”

New Southwest, which formally launched its new home this week, was formerly known as the South West Community Resource Unit and met at the home of the 32nd Ipswich Scouts in Stoke Park Drive.

It moved to its new premises earlier this year because the scout hut was no longer suitable.

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