Construction has begun in Ipswich to build a new home for charity Families In Need (FIND) to help them cope with rising demand from people in poverty and crisis for emergency food and every day household items.
Supporters of the charity gathered on Tuesday 7 May at the site in Braziers Wood Road to mark the start of the work – made possible by generous building industry firms and fundraising by the community. Businesses, schools, churches and individual donors have already raised £76,325 for the FIND 50 £100,000 Lifeline Appeal which is continuing.
FIND helps people who find it difficult to care for themselves at some point in their life. The demand for food parcels and other items has grown year on year and doubled in 2018 to over 6,000 (over 100 per week), stretching the charity’s 80 or more volunteers, who have been working in cramped and unheated facilities.
As well as food parcels, FIND provides white goods, beds, bedding, school uniforms, nappies and more.
The former sports changing rooms adjacent to Gainsborough Sports Centre are being completely remodelled and refurbished to provide space for FIND to run the foodbank and be a headquarters for the charity’s work. The new home is planned to open this Autumn.
Maureen Reynel MBE, founder of FIND, said: “It’s fantastic to see the first beginnings of our new home and we can’t wait to move in and help families, children and individuals who find themselves in poverty and crisis in the Ipswich area.
“I’d once again like to personally thank everyone who is supporting the fundraising and all the brilliant members of the building and construction trade who have come together to make this happen.
“We’ve made great progress and are now calling on the community – schools, businesses and anyone else – to help our final push to reach our £100,000 target.”
Planning approval for the new premises in Brazier's Wood Road was granted last year by Ipswich Borough Council. The authority also helped to identify the site.
The new headquarters requires significant refurbishment before FIND can move in and the start of work has been made possible by the massive support of the Ipswich and Suffolk community.
Construction work is being carried out by a united team of local companies, including Barnes Construction, Castons, MLM Group, Johns Slater and Haward Consulting, Hooper Architects, Barker Gotelee, Kadec, CCAS and Survey Solutions.
FIND 50 business and organisation fundraisers who have raised or donated £2,000 or more for the building appeal include East of England Co-op, Genesis, Suffolk Community Foundation, Ipswich Building Society, Ipswich East Rotary, Greyfriars Roundtable, The Ipswich Mayor’s Charity, Ipswich School, Scrutton Bland Foundation, Playtech, Hadleigh Baptist Church, 964 Consulting, New Zealand In Depth Travel, and the University of Suffolk.
Ipswich Borough Council Leader David Ellesmere, said: “The Council is a long-time supporter of FIND. We are very pleased to have been able to locate a suitable site for their new premises and help fund the redevelopment. We all now look forward to its completion and continuing valuable work in the community.”
The FIND 50 Lifeline Appeal is organised voluntarily by local PR and digital marketing agency Genesis. For more information about FIND and the FIND 50 appeal, which is inviting individuals, local companies and schools to each raise £2,000, see www.findipswich.org.uk or email FIND50@genesispr.co.uk.