New night centre for homeless on cards

A new night centre for homeless people should open in the town centre next year, it emerged today.

IPSWICH: A new night centre for homeless people should open in the town centre next year, it emerged today.

The former borough council social club in Black Horse Lane could be converted into a drop-in centre and temporary shelter if planning permission is obtained.

The centre would be run by the Ipswich Umbrella Trust, a group which includes charities working for homeless people and is currently based in the community resource centre in Old Foundry Road.

The trust is working with the borough to create the centre which would offer more accommodation than is currently available at the resource centre.

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Richard Pope from the borough said: “The new building will have a day centre on the ground floor and three dormitories with 12 beds between them on the first floor.

“There will be two male dormitories and one female - and we have especially gone for that configuration because we want people to learn to live together.

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“This will not be a night shelter, it will be a night centre because it is more than just somewhere to sleep - it would also be the first stage to getting back on to the housing ladder in some way.”

Roger Fern, from the Ipswich Umbrella Trust and himself a former mayor of the borough, said the centre would offer support to the residents - and that could be as important as providing them with a roof for the night.

“We would be dealing with people with chaotic lifestyles - but we would want them to learn to live together with other people.

“And we would want to help them start to work on any addiction problems or anything like that - this would be a genuine night centre offering real help and support,” he said.

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