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Brandon Day Centre and Cafe 27 officially opened by health minister

PUBLISHED: 14:24 08 September 2018 | UPDATED: 22:08 09 September 2018

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matthew Hancock attends Brandon Day Centre/Café 27 launch. He is pictured with Eadey Turner, aged 10, and 12-year-off StanleyTurner. Picture: PAULA AMENIS

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matthew Hancock attends Brandon Day Centre/Café 27 launch. He is pictured with Eadey Turner, aged 10, and 12-year-off StanleyTurner. Picture: PAULA AMENIS

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Over 150 people attended the official launch of the Brandon Day Centre and the newly opened Café 27 along with a new minibus enabling access to the centre’s services.

It was carried out by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock who described the centre as multi-generational and which has “transformed into an even better day centre than before.”

For a major campaign was launched in the autumn of 2016 to keep the complex open when the former provider announced their intention to close the resource as it was no longer financially viable.

Youngsters Stanley and Eadey Turner, aged 12 and 10, instigated a petition and collected over 2,000 signatures so that their grandfather could continue enjoying his visits to the day centre.

The building, which is run by Empanda Care and Support and owned by Forest Heath District Council, was built in 1998 from funds raised by the Brandon Community Association (BCA), a local charity, who continue to financially support the day centre’s two minibuses and the drivers who provide a free door-to-door transport service for day care members.

Empanda’s managing director David Palmer, Forest Heath District and town councillor and Brandon Day Centre steering group chair, spoke of the special relationship between Empanda and the steering group in supporting the centre.

He talked about an ongoing fundraising campaign to raise money for two new minibuses to replace the old vehicles currently in use and how he and steering group colleagues had been successful in securing a grant award of £20,000 from Postcode Community Trust together with donations from locality budgets and Community Chest, local businesses and supporters, which had resulted in the first minibus being purchased.

Mr Hancock who was backed by the media, along with Suffolk County, Forest Heath District and Brandon Town councillors, the BCA and the wider community, launched a campaign in the autumn of 2016 to keep the day centre open.

He said: “I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.

“It’s fantastic how the whole community has pulled together to make this happen.

“Empanda taking over the Brandon Day Centre is evidence that it was the right thing to do. With so many different services on offer it truly is a multi-generational centre. From being at crisis point it has transformed into an even better day centre than before and that warms my heart.”

Sally Hanlin, Empanda’s managing director, said: “Our aspirations to see the centre grow and evolve into a vibrant community resource for our members and the wider Brandon community are beginning to be realised.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support given from day one by the BCA, town, district and county councils, who have been integral in keeping the centre open and continue to show their support and commitment to ensuring it remains sustainable and viable into the future.

“We have many projects in the pipeline including the opening of a ‘Men’s Shed’, a community garden at an allotment donated by the Brandon Allotment Association, a community cinema, as well as more inter-generational projects.”

The centre has been totally refurbished and new lounge furniture has been purchased thanks to support from locality budgets, the BCA and the Ganzoni Charitable Trust.

The former dining room has been transformed into a contemporary café – Café 27, which takes its name from the IP27 Brandon postcode.

Designed in partnership with students from West Suffolk College, Café 27 opened its doors to the public in July this year.

Anyone wishing to contribute towards the fundraising appeal to purchase the second minibus can donate securely online by visiting www.brandonca.cf

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