Resort Red Cross building closed

A POPULAR seafront community building used by the disabled, frail and elderly has been closed, it was revealed today.Users of the British Red Cross centre at Felixstowe spoke of their disgust and shock at the charity's decision to shut down the building, which has to be booked months in advance by groups because it is so well used.

A POPULAR seafront community building used by the disabled, frail and elderly has been closed, it was revealed today.

Users of the British Red Cross centre at Felixstowe spoke of their disgust and shock at the charity's decision to shut down the building, which has to be booked months in advance by groups because it is so well used.

It said running the centre on the prom at Bath Tap no longer fitted its objectives, and it was costing too much to upgrade and maintain.

A big question mark now hangs over the future of the building, which was only refurbished two years ago thanks to Felixstowe Carnival Association and the town's Lions after vandals attacked it.


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Marjorie Cowell, secretary of the Cotton Over 60s Club, said she was incensed by the decision to close.

She said: "This will upset many people over the whole of the county and further afield – groups come from all over to use it.

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"It is a wonderful place. Disabled people and others are able to sit and look out over the sea, the fish and chip shop brings our lunches, a really lovely day out.

"It is booked up six days a week for six months of the year and we pay £45 a day – it raises £7,000 a year towards its keep that way.

"Now we are told money needs to be spent to upgrade it, but we have not been asked to pay more, and I am sure many would be willing pay more.

"It's a real injustice. I hope there is a campaign launched to save it."

Fay Fulbrook, secretary of Point Clear Disabled People's Club, St Osyth, said: "It is a real shame. Our group has used it for 20 years. The centre is a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by and people we take really enjoy it.

"I was getting anxious about booking, because you have to book six months in advance to make sure you get the day you want, when the letter from the Red Cross arrived out of the blue to say it was closing."

Senior services manager at the Red Cross, Terry Davies, said: "We took the difficult decision to close the centre because we can't afford to run it any more.

"The centre was open for just half the year and needed a significant cash injection to make it fully accessible to wheelchair users.

"Cleaning costs and the problem of recruiting volunteers to staff the centre were also a consideration. Across the county we have refocused our services on short-term help to people in crisis where we feel we can make the most difference to people in need and the best use of our limited resources."

The centre was opened in 1965 by the Duchess of Gloucester after fundraising by Felixstowe Round Table, who gave the building to the charity.

It was given a complete makeover in 2002, redecorated throughout, plus new flooring, kitchen, and furniture.

n What do you think of the decision to close the Red Cross Centre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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