New Ipswich mayor aims to help those in need across the town

Glen Chisholm looks on as Town Sergeant Andrew Beal dresses new mayor Roger Fern at a ceremony at th

Glen Chisholm looks on as Town Sergeant Andrew Beal dresses new mayor Roger Fern at a ceremony at the Corn Exchange. - Credit: Su Anderson

New Ipswich mayor Roger Fern is to use his year in office to support two charities that work in some of the most challenging sectors in the town.

He will use his term to raise funds for the Ipswich Housing Action Group’s Chapman Centre in Black Horse Lane and to support the Ipswich branch of the Alzheimer’s Society.

Mr Fern helped set up the Community Resource Centre as part of the Umbrella Trust. This merged with IHAG in 2014 and became the Chapman Centre named after a 19th century Ipswich philanthropist.

The Centre is the base for services for people in Ipswich who are sleeping rough. It also contains an office and training/meeting rooms for the Ipswich Locality Homelessness Partnership (ILHP).

This works with people who are caught up in chaos, addictive behaviour, coping with mental ill-health, or who are homeless – some of them are facing all these problems. However the charity points out all of them are someone’s son or daughter and almost all of them are looking for a helping hand.

Mr Fern’s wife Pat has Alzheimer’s so his family has first-hand experience of the problems the condition can cause.

The society is part of the Ipswich Dementia Action Alliance (IDAA) which is working towards the town being recognised as “dementia friendly.”

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To achieve this, businesses like shops, post offices, banks, bus operators and taxis undertake a programme of awareness raising to achieve a greater understanding of dementia.

As well as confirming Mr Fern as the new mayor, his eldest granddaughter was confirmed as his consort. Outgoing mayor Glen Chisholm became deputy mayor.

The only changes on the council’s executive were Neil Macdonald taking over the housing portfolio, replacing John Mowles who did not seek re-election earlier this month, and Alasdair Ross coming into the cabinet taking over Mr Macdonald’s responsibilities for community safety.