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Almshouses revamp to start in March

PUBLISHED: 05:59 31 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 February 2010

A £4million project to bring historic almshouses into the 21st Century will start in March.

The Seckford Foundation has briefed residents in the Seckford Almshouses, Woodbridge, about the ambitious scheme to upgrade their homes and to build extra accommodation.

A £4million project to bring historic almshouses into the 21st Century will start in March.

The Seckford Foundation has briefed residents in the Seckford Almshouses, Woodbridge, about the ambitious scheme to upgrade their homes and to build extra accommodation.

Residents were assured that the phasing of the project will allow them to remain on the site in Seckford Street during the two-year building work undertaken by R G Carter Ltd.

Robin Vickers, director of the Seckford Foundation, said: ''Our first priority is to guide our residents through the plans for what will happen at each stage. Building work can be disruptive so we will have individual meetings with residents and will invite their relatives to join us so they can raise any concerns they may have.''

The Seckford Foundation, established more than 400 years ago, is also behind development projects at Queen's House, The Abbey and Woodbridge School. The biggest is a theatre, music rooms and studio theatre at Woodbridge School with a longer-term aim to build a swimming pool and an art/technology classroom block.

The almshouses' scheme has received significant grants from the Housing Corporation, the county and district councils, and money from trusts and personal donations.

Residents have either a bed sitting room or very small flats at the almshouses and few are accessible by wheelchairs. Two flats will be merged to provide one large flat in the Seckford Hospital building fronting Seckford Street and behind this a two-storey building with 16 one-bedroom flats will be built. There will be a total of 23 one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom very sheltered flats.

A covered walkway on two levels to be called The Seckford Thoroughfare will provide a secure link to Jubilee House, a residential care unit.

Mr Vickers said the developments would provide a more secure environment for the residents, they would retain their own front door and there would be better access for people with disabilities.

There are four communal lounges and the Seckford Foundation wants to introduce an information technology suite into one of them. A new day care centre for 25 people to help them learn life skills again after an illness will be built.

The Charity Commissioners have approved a proposal to extend the geographical area for eligibility to the almshouses. An extra 19,000 people will be in the catchment.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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