New women's centre opens 10 years after Ipswich murders as a message of hope
PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 December 2016 | UPDATED: 09:23 01 December 2016
Charity leaders yesterday marked an important milestone in their efforts to create a legacy of hope from a Suffolk tragedy.
Around 100 supporters, well-wishers and community figures gathered in a village north of Ipswich to celebrate the official ribbon-cutting of Talitha Koum’s new centre for women battling addiction.
Ken Donaldson, project director for the charity, said the turn out was a “reflection of the community effort” that had made the Hope Centre a reality.
After years of work and more than £400,000 raised for the project, the facility is set to welcome its first clients in the New Year, establishing something positive from the Ipswich murders, which claimed the lives of five young women a decade ago.
Talitha Koum was set up in response to those tragic events with a mission to support women in the Ipswich area caught up in addiction so they would not be forced into prostitution, as Steve Wright’s victims had been.
Funding was raised through the Somebody’s Daughter Memorial Fund, created by the Ipswich Star and Ipswich Borough Council, alongside other donations.
Yesterday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by many of those who had been involved in the project, as well as community leaders keen to continue with that work, including Ipswich mayor Roger Fern, borough council leader David Ellesmere and the Rt Rev Mike Harrison, the Bishop of Dunwich.
Mr Donaldson said: “The whole event was a celebration of the community effort that has enabled us to reach this milestone.
“It reflects the desire that everybody has had to see something come from the terrible events 10 years ago.”
The event’s timing was aimed to coincide as closely as possible to the 10 year anniversary of the discovery of the first of Wright’s victims, Gemma Adams, whose body was found in Belstead Brook on December 2, 2006.
Guests at the event were invited to take a look at the new buildings, which will accommodate up to seven women offering a range of therapies to help post-detox clients based on the 12-step programme.
Although the centre is nearing completion, the charity is leading a final fundraising push to complete its final £15,000 hurdle.
The council has revived the Somebody’s Daughter Memorial Fund, which can be found on the “make a payment” section of its website.
People can also visit Talitha Koum to donate.