AN innovative project that will enable community members to choose artwork for a new £10million health centre is being launched in Sudbury.

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The NHS is inviting local people to help lead the initiative, which it hopes to establish at the state-of-the-art health facility when it opens in summer 2014.

The centre, which will be built in Church Field Road, will replace current facilities at Walnuttree Hospital, St Leonard’s Hospital, Acton Lane Clinic and the Siam GP surgery.

According to NHS Suffolk, art has a positive effect on physical, mental and emotional health. The organisation believes including artworks in the modern facility will be beneficial to the wellbeing of visitors and staff.

It wants people to put themselves forward to work with architects and project leaders as part of an art project steering group, whose task it will be to define the art policy for the facility and then evaluate submissions of artwork.

Sudbury and Locality Community Implementation Reference Group has advised NHS Suffolk to ask for five volunteers from the public – with two of those places set aside for each of Sudbury’s upper schools.

Group chairman Anne Nicholls said: “NHS Suffolk has asked for community involvement in the arts project because this will be your building in the future.

“We have offered to choose those who will be involved and want to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer for at least four meetings during the year.”

Group member Peter Clifford, who is involved in implementing the project, said: “As a strong supporter of the local community, I welcome this initiative to involve artistic people, young and old, from the immediate area in the project.”

Building work on the health centre was scheduled to start in early autumn, and delays to the project have sparked concern among local residents. But Mr Clifford, who is also a Sudbury hospital WATCH group member added: “As far as the development of the new Sudbury Health Centre is concerned, the PCT team involved has shown commendable willingness to engage local people in its planning and design and this is another step in that direction. I remain confident that once the remaining red tape is out of the way and all leasing agreements are in place, the construction of the new health centre will go ahead early in the new year.”

People with a passion for the arts – in whichever medium – who would like to offer their expertise should send a paragraph of no more than 500 words to comms@suffolkpct.nhs.uk explaining what they could bring to the group.

The deadline for applications is December 31.

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