Woodbridge: ‘Pioneering’ Cedar House Trust winds up after more than 15 years supporting local charities

Tony Hubbard, chairman of the Cedar House Trust, which is having to close

Tony Hubbard, chairman of the Cedar House Trust, which is having to close

A “pioneering” umbrella organisation that provided a home for local charities is winding up after offering vital support for more than 15 years.

The Cedar House Trust in Woodbridge was originally formed to find accommodation for the now defunct Deben Family Centre.

Following a two-year fundraising campaign they set up in Cedar House in Pytches Road – officially opening on July 20, 1996.

Over the years a variety of charities have come and gone, with the most recent tenants including Home-Start Suffolk Coastal, Optua and the Disability Advice Service (East Suffolk). They have now had to find new homes after Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC), which owns the building, agreed to put the property up for sale to raise funds.

Tony Hubbard, who has been chairman of trustees at Cedar House since the start, said: “At the beginning there was terrific excitement. It was a pioneering project – there hadn’t been anything quite like it.

“Cedar House was a dilapidated building and in a terrible state. But a group of us seized on the idea of providing accommodation for the Deben Family Centre and other charities. It was an enormous project but we were determined to see it through. There was a great need.”

The district council handed Cedar House over on a 15-year lease and agreed for the trust to continue using the property once that expired.

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Mr Hubbard was full of praise for the local authority and said everything had been handled amicably.

“To be honest, I think it’s the right time (to be ending),” he said. “All the charities have outgrown the building and are moving to other premises. We have fulfilled our original aims – its been better than we hoped.”

Mr Hubbard also paid tribute to his other trustees, Tony Pinfold, Caroline Cowper and Sarah Evelegh, who he said was instrumental in securing a lottery grant of £80,000. There was also other fundraising – including £20,000 from a “Friends” group.

Robert Whiting, SCDC’s cabinet member for resources, said the trust had created a lasting legacy, helping many charities establish themselves and develop. He also said they had been working with current tenants to identify alternative accommodation and offered them help to relocate.

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