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Shop opens its doors for community

PUBLISHED: 16:15 28 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:36 03 March 2010

SOUTH East Ipswich is celebrating the first steps towards a better and more positive community with the opening of the first Surestart shop.

The shop has opened on Clapgate Lane and is a symbol of the progress and hard work taking place in an area ravaged by under funding and a lack of facilities in the past.

SOUTH East Ipswich is celebrating the first steps towards a better and more positive community with the opening of the first Surestart shop.

The shop has opened on Clapgate Lane and is a symbol of the progress and hard work taking place in an area ravaged by under funding and a lack of facilities in the past.

Surestart is a government initiative which aims to provide facilities for children under four and their parents. It is an initiative which involves all the agencies in the area working together with parents to provide services and activities, from the health authority to church groups and other organisations.

Sandra Shears is the programme manager for Surestart in South East Ipswich.

"This is an initiative which will be run by parents and staff and which takes an inclusive approach. It is a great opportunity for parents to take control and have real input in the services on offer.

"Surestart is bringing £3.5 million in to the area and we hope to offer services from benefit advice sessions to a children's play area and much more. The opportunity to consult with parents will be paramount throughout the project."

Surestart has also bought the Duke of Gloucester pub which has been bordered up for some time and this will eventually be turned in to a centre for Surestart.

Sarah Willmott, of Sturdee Avenue said the centre will be a life-line for her and her family. "If it was not for this I would not be able to afford to do the things I want to with my son Oliver over the holidays. I am taking part in the confident kids course which is teaching different methods of parenting and I could never have done this without Surestart."

Sam O'Donnell, of Raeburn Road agreed. "This is important as it is some where to go for advice and help and there is a creche facility which makes life a lot easier," she said.

Surestart is one of many new initiatives in the area aimed at building confidence in a community that has seen its fair share of problems. Another is taking place on October 19 and this is a feel good day to be held for the women of Gainsborough, Greenwich and Priory Heath. The day will be held at Gainsborough Sports Centre between 9.45am and 2.45pm.

These new beginnings are aimed at helping a community prosper from within. It is again something that the women in the area have been involved in organising.

Women are being encouraged to enjoy this relaxing day which is being opened by the mayor of Ipswich, Maureen Carrington-Brown. There will then be a guest speaker, Suzanne Daley, an expert in personal safety.

After a buffet lunch there is a choice of workshops from positive parenting to women's health issues and healthy life styles. All women will go home with a goody bag and hopefully a renewed interest in taking time out for themselves and in turn building confidence among the women in the area.

This wonderful day costs just £2 and tickets can be bought from the Gainsborough Sport Centre; the Salvation Army in Queensway, All Hallows Area Housing Office and the Gainsborough Health Clinic.

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