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Bury St Edmunds charity Gatehouse to transform its services with community hub

A Bury St Edmunds charity is to transform its services after being forced to close its day care for people with dementia and their carers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gatehouse, in Dettingen Way, has run a dementia hub for the last four years but, given that it is unlikely to be able to continue its face to face respite service until at least next summer, it aims to broaden its reach with a community hub.

Potential projects include a cafe and the possibility of picking up some of the services run by Age UK Suffolk, which has closed today following financial losses from the Covid-19 crisis.

Amanda Bloomfield, chief executive of Gatehouse. Picture by Penny Morgan
Amanda Bloomfield, chief executive of Gatehouse. Picture by Penny Morgan

Four members of staff who worked in the dementia hub have entered a consultation period for the restructure.

Chief executive Amanda Bloomfield said: “Gatehouse as a charity has always changed based on the needs of the community. It’s always an exciting challenge to meet those needs and we look forward to expanding and meeting new people through the new project.

“We’re fairly flexible in what we do but it’s just about being there for the community and rebuilding lives in the new post-Covid environment.”

She said although they were ‘really disappointed’ not to be able to provide the face to face respite for dementia clients, there may be scope to continue the service in the future.

It will continue with its online mindfulness and befriending sessions to support those living with dementia.

“The wellbeing of our dementia clients is always at the forefront of our minds and we will do everything we can to support them through this,” Amanda said.

Other services through the community hub could include complementary therapies and employability skills training and advice.

It is also looking to work in partnership with other organisations to meet the needs of the community.

Amanda added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those staff that have gone over and above to be flexible and innovative over the pandemic to ensure that we met the needs of current and new clients.”

For more details or to discuss partnership work, contact Amanda on 01284 754967 or email amanda@gatehouse.org.uk

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