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£120k award secures Sudbury youth centre building

PUBLISHED: 16:29 15 November 2018

Children attending the Eden's Project in Sudbury Picture: STUART AYLING

Children attending the Eden's Project in Sudbury Picture: STUART AYLING

Archant

A charity will be able to continue changing the lives of young people in Sudbury after it was awarded £120,000 to buy its premises.

Children attending the Eden's Project in Sudbury Picture: STUART AYLINGChildren attending the Eden's Project in Sudbury Picture: STUART AYLING

The Eden’s Project had been renting the building in Gainsborough Street, but the opportunity came up to buy it when the former landlord and owner passed away.

Following on from the launch of a fundraising initiative earlier in the year, the team have just announced they have been awarded £120,000 from the The Garfield Weston Foundation, which will allow them to purchase the building they have been renting for 19 years.

Stuart Ayling, Eden’s project manager, said it was “fantastic” and a “big coup” to achieve the award, adding with the security of owning the roof over their heads they would be able to keep supporting young people and changing their lives.

“Eden’s was established in 1999 and continues to be extremely successful. We have supported over 2,000 young people, helping them develop in self-confidence, health, socialising skills, teamwork and volunteering. Buying the Eden’s youth centre will ensure this vital charitable work will continue.”

The Eden's Project in Sudbury Picture: STUART AYLINGThe Eden's Project in Sudbury Picture: STUART AYLING

Mr Ayling said more than 250 young people use the centre, keeping them off the streets, with facilities including a smoothie bar, music room and recording studio.

“We try and do positive things with them and offer ongoing support and guidance,” he said.

Gillian Hilder, communities officer with Babergh District Council, said: “Eden’s offers a wide range of support services to empower and enable young people to reach their full potential.”

Mr Ayling said they estimate they need £160,000 in total to purchase the premises and make repairs, adding they have managed to raise another £23,000 on top of the £120,000 thanks to help from individuals and businesses in the local community and some small grants.

The Eden's Project in Sudbury Picture: STUART AYLINGThe Eden's Project in Sudbury Picture: STUART AYLING

The former landlord and owner Bill Yates, who had a farm in nearby Bulmer, moved to Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia, 20 years ago, but died there in September last year. In his will he gave the Eden’s Project first option to buy the buildings at a preferential rate.

The Garfield Weston Foundation has more then doubled its £5million capital fund to over £11million so it can support over 150 charities and community organisations across the UK.

The Garfield Weston Foundation’s director Philippa Charles said: “What really impressed our trustees is the amount of volunteering and community involvement that’s going on across the UK. We heard about so many amazing projects involving local people who are helping their communities thrive - regardless of cuts, Brexit debates and other challenges.

The response from charities to this new fund clearly demonstrates the voluntary sector is proactive and energetic; far from the complacency it is sometimes accused of.

The Eden's Project in Sudbury Picture: STUART AYLINGThe Eden's Project in Sudbury Picture: STUART AYLING

Yet we can also see the level of need that exists in our local communities and how much the services charities provide are so desperately needed. The impact of these grants will be significant, with benefits for many people lasting years.”

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