Second bid for new home for blind

A SECOND bid is to be made to secure major grant aid for a multi-million pound scheme to build a new home for the blind and visually-impaired.

A SECOND bid is to be made to secure major grant aid for a multi-million pound scheme to build a new home for the blind and visually-impaired.

Felixstowe's St Felix Home, which campaigners twice saved from closure in the past two decades, is to close and will be sold to help pay for a replacement modern home in another part of the resort.

Ipswich Blind Society has now entered into negotiations with Flagship Housing to join in the redevelopment of Conford House sheltered complex in Plymouth Road, Walton.

The aim is to build a “very sheltered” scheme on the Conford site, comprising 24 flats with communal facilities. Priority will be given to visually impaired people.

The scheme hinges on a successful bid for funding to the Housing Corporation.

However, the first bid put to the government funding body was turned down.

Most Read

Undaunted and with renewed determination, they have prepared and now submitted a second bid and are confident they will succeed - and are waiting for an answer from the corporation.

Roger Fern, chairman of Ipswich Blind Society, said the first-time failure was “disappointing news”.

However, he added: “We are confident that we can secure the funding we need with a further bid.

“Clearly there is a demand for suitable accommodation for elderly visually impaired people, and it is important that this project proceeds,” he said.

It is hoped to complete the new scheme early in 2010 when residents of St Felix will transfer to their new flats, along with the staff.

St Felix will then be sold for flats and the proceeds invested in the new scheme.

Campaigners are backing the project and have pledged to carry on fundraising.

They appreciate St Felix is not the best place in which to deliver care for the visually-impaired but believe the service must be kept and say there is a shortage of specialist sheltered housing and the scheme will be the only development east of Birmingham providing specifically for visually-impaired people.

Should the scheme get the grant it needs? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk