Suffolk charity officially opens new building to provide dementia support

Mayor of St Edmundsbury Margaret Marks (second right) officially opened the new dementia hub at Gate

Mayor of St Edmundsbury Margaret Marks (second right) officially opened the new dementia hub at Gatehouse in Bury St Edmunds Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD - Credit: Archant

A west Suffolk charity celebrated the completion of two phases of building work on their dementia hub with an opening ceremony last night.

Gatehouse, in Bury St Edmunds, invited guests and volunteers to see the extensive remodelling and refurbishment of the charity’s building in Dettingen Way.

The hub now provides a dementia-friendly environment for the charity’s clients as well as space to give support and advice to carers.

The charity raised £184,000 for the refurbishment project through local charities, businesses, councillors and individuals.

A £58,000 grant from the Department of Health Fund, managed by Suffolk County Council, and a £40,000 grant from St Edmunds Trust also contributed to the project.

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Gatehouse is attempting to raise another £35,000 to provide a much-needed therapy and activity room and improve access to the other services that the charity runs from the building.

Margaret Marks, mayor of St Edmundsbury, who officially opened the building on Wednesday night, said: “Gatehouse is one of my mayoral charities as I am so impressed with the work they do for people living with dementia.

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“I am delighted to be here to mark this important occasion. The hub will help people to live well with dementia across the borough.”

Open daily Monday to Friday, the hub hosts Gatehouse’s dementia-friendly day service, providing a variety of different groups and activities, including twice weekly trips on the Bury Rickshaw.

The hub also hosts music and art groups, podiatry and hairdressing services and support for businesses to improve their staff knowledge and environments to help create a dementia-friendly town.

Amanda Bloomfield, Gatehouse CEO, said: “We at Gatehouse believe that no-one should have to face dementia alone.

“Through increasing our services and improving our building, we are able to offer more and better support, information and advice for people who are living with dementia and their families – improving their lives and enabling them to remain independent for longer.”

Julia Wakelam, chairman of trustees, said: “We want to give a big thank you to everyone who has helped get us to this stage your generosity is what makes Gatehouse’s vital work for the people of West Suffolk possible.

“Our clients are already benefiting hugely from these improvements. We particularly want to thank Feilden & Mawson Architects who gave their services free and our contractors HG Frost who have been wonderful, working with great sensitivity to our clients.”

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