Ten years and going strong

FROM small beginnings to one of Felixstowe's most thriving and respected organisations – that's the Caretaker's House centre for mental wellbeing, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

FROM small beginnings to one of Felixstowe's most thriving and respected organisations – that's the Caretaker's House centre for mental wellbeing, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

More than 150 people a week use the building in High Road West for a range of activities, from counselling to crafts, advice to art, to help them on the mend.

To mark its ten years, it was open house as the public was invited to exhibitions of art, photography and creative writing, and to learn about what goes on inside.

"I cannot believe we have been open ten years – it has just flown by," said Caretaker's House manager Jim Cadbury.


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"We have 25 to 30 people a day coming to our clubs and the different activities, and I couldn't begin to compute how many thousands may have been through the doors over the years.

"We are just pleased that Felixstowe has this resource and that it has taken off and been used so well, and benefited so many.

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"People have been writing their thoughts on why the centre is so important to them and many have expressed the sense of peace they have found here, the quietness, and team spirit, and the enjoyment of the activities."

There was uproar when East Suffolk Mind announced plans to open a mental health resource centre in 1993 with people having all sorts of worries and fears.

Those concerns have proved unfounded with the centre now firmly part of the community, offering vital services through Mind, but also for the building to be used by a host of other charities and services for their activities.

"It is a real community resource, not just for mental health but for all sorts of health issues with groups such as Cruse, the Alzheimers Society and Disability Advice Service using the building," added Mr Cadbury.

Activities include photography and art clubs, which have produced a stunning standard of work. East Suffolk Mind has chosen work from club members to feature on its Christmas cards this year.

A thriving creative writing group has about a dozen members meeting once a month, working on different themes, discussing and writing, with the interaction and relationships benefiting those taking part.

At the rear of the building is a craft annexe, opened about five years ago, which has allowed woodworking and other skills to be developed.

Enterprising Minds, a scheme helping people who have suffered mental health problems to develop skills to get back into the workplace, is also based at the centre. Several of its members have taken courses in the past year on basic computing as part of an Open College Network scheme with Otley College.

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