The Chapman Centre in Ipswich marks anniversary by opening training room

Cllr Roger Fern cuts the cake with Halford Hewitt in the refurbished room named after himself at the

Cllr Roger Fern cuts the cake with Halford Hewitt in the refurbished room named after himself at the Chapman Centre on Wednesday, 4 March. - Credit: Su Anderson

Over 60 people turned out to see the opening of a new meeting and training room at the Chapman Centre - Ipswich’s homelessness hub.

The event also marked the one year anniversary since the centre on Blackhorse Lane was taken over by Ipswich Housing Action Group (IHAG).

The new room, located in the large open space upstairs, was named The Fern Room after Ipswich borough councillor, Roger Fern.

Borough leader, David Ellesmere, who formally opened the room, said: “It’s a vital centre for helping people who, quite often from no fault of their own, have got real problems in their lives, and hope to turn their lives around and get on the straight and narrow.”

He said the room was given its title in commemoration of the huge amount of work Mr Fern did to get the centre up and running and to pay tribute to all the hard work he had done over the years to improve the lives of homeless people in Ipswich. Mr Fern was the chairman of the Ipswich Umbrella Trust, which set-up the Chapman Centre, formerly named Community Resource Centre, in its current location, and is now the chair of the Ipswich Locality Homelessness Partnership, which is based there.

“It was a special evening,” Mr Fern said. “I’ve learned a lot over the last 10 years about homelessness and chaotic lives which tend to isolate people within the community. I was also chuffed to bits to have the room named after me.”

The Fern Room can hold over 30 people and is equipped with catering facilities, Smart Board and an overhead projector. The opening, held last week, was also attended by Ipswich MP Ben Gummer and senior mangers from Suffolk Constabulary, the probation service and Ipswich Borough Council.

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The Chapman Centre provides a walk-in advice, advocacy and support service to marginalised and vulnerable adults, including those who are homeless or rough sleeping.