Projects will be protected

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A CHARITY chairman has expressed his relief after receiving assurances over the future of a centre for adults with learning disabilities, writes Neil Bracegirdle.

Concerns had started to grow over plans for the Sudbury Resource Centre, which will soon be moving away from Suffolk County Council control and taken over by the newly-formed not-for-profit social enterprise Leading Lives.

It was feared that four projects at the centre – which provides adults with vocational training in recycling, catering, horticulture and packing – could be in jeopardy as a result of the switch.

However, those fears appear to have diminished following a meeting between Helping Hands, a charity which supports the centre on Chilton Industrial Estate, and representatives from Leading Lives and the county council.

Jack Owen, Helping Hands chairman, said the meeting had been positive.

“We were given certain assurances that there is no plan for any major changes at the centre, or to close down any of the work projects,” said Mr Owen, who was last week elected Sudbury town mayor.

“We are delighted by this news and we just hope Leading Lives remains true to its word.”

He added that the loss of the projects, an area which made the resource centre “unique”, would have been a major blow.

“The centre is a fantastic facility allowing adults with learning disabilities to receive the support they need to socialise, build confidence and learn new skills,” said Mr Owen.

“However, it is the four working projects which make the centre unique, allowing the adults to get involved in vocational initiatives which provide services to a wide range of businesses, organisations and individuals.

“The projects allow the adults who attend the centre to become actively involved in, and make a positive contribution to, their community.”

Leading Lives will take control of the centre in July, and will also be responsible for a range of adult and family services across Suffolk.