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Woman who was supported at Ipswich Foyer as a teenager launches petition to save it from closure

PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 May 2016

The Ipswich Foyer in Star Lane.

The Ipswich Foyer in Star Lane.

A petition to save a centre that acts as a lifeline to vulnerable young homeless people in Ipswich has attracted more than 1,000 signatures in just four days.

It was announced last week that Circle Housing Wherry is proposing to close the Ipswich Foyer due to a shortage of funding and with the building in desperate need of refurbishment.

Nine years ago the Foyer opened its doors to then-17-year-old Becki Bunn, who found herself with no where else to turn.

Miss Bunn, now 26, lived at the centre for six months and she said it enabled her to stay in education and finish her A-Levels, while learning a valuable set of life skills.

After hearing that the Foyer was under threat of closure, Miss Bunn, along with friend Leah Hurd, put together an online petition calling for Circle Housing Wherry and funding provider Suffolk County Council to stop the service from being axed.

“My experience of it was even if wasn’t the best place in the world it was a place that I needed, and it’s a place that these young adults need,” said Miss Bunn, of York Road, Ipswich.

“It would be devastating if it closed because there is nothing out there that is equivalent to the Foyer, it has a constant demand and supported housing is so stretched as it is.

“To get a place there you have to be a priority, so it’s young people who have literally run out of relatives, floors and friends’ sofas, that’s when they will take you in.

“I don’t know what would have happened to me, but I wouldn’t have been able to continue my studies, which is a major thing for me, it was so important that I got to keep going to school and they encouraged that.

“I think that it’s made me a lot more well-rounded, before I was very lost and then I found the support and I was able to continue learning and I will be forever thankful for that.”

Ipswich Foyer opened at Richmond House in Star Lane in 1997 and offers up to two years accommodation to single homeless people aged between 16 and 24 and gives them the support they need to turn their lives around, including counselling, cooking classes, and advice on budgeting and health.

To view the petition to save the centre visit: www.change.org/p/fight-for-ipswich-foyer-save-44-young-homeless-people
A 12-week consultation is also under way where people interested in the future of the Foyer can have their say by emailing: tony.long@circle.org.uk before July 31.

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