Ground-Breaking Event at St Mary at the Quay, Ipswich

A ceremony was held recently at St Mary at the Quay to mark the beginning of building work which will transform one of the most historic churches in Ipswich into a heritage and wellbeing centre. The £5million project, with partners, Suffolk MIND is largely funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and is due for completion in autumn 2015.

Sue Gray from Suffolk MIND said the new centre was vital to break down the stigma that many still felt about discussing mental health. She said: "This will be a place where everyone can come. Our aim is to create a place where people come to feel better. Whether that's because you enjoy a really good cup of coffee with your friends, whether you take part in a Pilates session, or take part in some of the activities that will be going on here doesn't matter. It will be a place for everyone and should break down the barriers that do still exist when it comes to mental health."

Work is being carried out by specialist contractors Bakers of Danbury and guests were given a rare chance to see inside. The first stage in the work is to restore the 15th century hammer beam roof, which shows carved figures of saints. A number of open days, where members of the public can view the work in progress are planned over the next few months, so watch this space.