New pavilion opens for learning and resources at community gardens in Ipswich by ActivLives

ActivLives CEO Julie Stokes, Director of the East of England Cooperative Phil Hartwell and Ipswich M

ActivLives CEO Julie Stokes, Director of the East of England Cooperative Phil Hartwell and Ipswich Mayor Bill Quinton cut the ribbon at the opening of the ActivLives Community Resource Education and Skills Space (CRESS) on Saturday, 21 March. - Credit: Su Anderson

A new skills and resource facility was launched on Saturday as part of a thriving community garden in Ipswich.

The new Community Resource, Education and Skills Space (CRESS) pavilion launched by ActivLives and the East of England Co-op at the community garden in Halifax Road, Ipswich, aims to promote healthy eating and healthy living, as well as social interaction in the community.

Among the new facilities are a community market and cafe using produce grown at the gardens, learning projects for children in cooking, growing and sustainability and exercise and leisure activities from the ActivLives health programme.

The new centre, which was boosted by funding of up to £80,000 by the East of England Co-op, will also work with schools on a number of projects on the environment.

Jo Whittle CRESS project co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted to present our first CRESS pavilion programme alongside our new community partners Maidenhall Residents Association and Cowells Bowls Club, with an exciting range of activities for children, families and older people too.”

To develop the new centre, teams of volunteers, including 20 from Axa Insurance, joined a team of professional builders, kitchen fitters and decorators.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who was at the launch, said: “This is a real credit to the community here and it has been done by the people mucking in. I have been coming to meetings in this hall for seven years now and it is charming, warm, with a lovely kitchen that is going to serve the community all the year round.”

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The project was also backed with funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation’s Suffolk Fund and Ipswich Borough Council.

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere, who was also present, added: “They are doing absolutely great work in the community. It’s just gone from strength to strength and you can see from the numbers that are here today. It’s about getting the community mucking in and helping out, and just improving the general health of everyone in the area.”

The first event in the ActivLives programme at the community garden takes place on Thursday from 10am, with a practical session learning to weave willow. The event costs £30, with booking available at ActivLives on 01473 345350.

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