Over the last few months, as part of my getting to know this town and its people, its issues and its aspirations, I’ve been chatting to some thoroughly cool and exceptionally caring folk at the Iceni Project. Brian (one of the founders) and Sarah (one of the service users) came a couple of months ago to Deanery Synod, and shared some of their story.
Iceni was started by Brian and a pal, who saw a need for drug support and rehab in the town and decided to do something about it. From humble beginnings (tearing a urinal out of a loo so they could fit in a desk) they have grown into one of the best programmes in the country – helping drug users in this town, supporting police and doing what they could to keep young women safe during the Ipswich Murders in 2006. They won the Guardian Charity Award in 2008, and have advised councils up and down the country, in addition to being involved in the Olympic planning.
I’ve spent a little time at the Iceni Project’s centre in town, chatted to staff, volunteers and service users and seen the brilliant work which happens. But now it is under threat. Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Team turned down their funding bid last week, a situation which is currently under review thanks to the hard work of Ben Gummer MP.
This morning I was on local radio – BBC Radio Suffolk, talking about the campaign to keep The Iceni Project open. Their one-stop-shop phased approach is innovative and effective – it works, and they have a proven record over the last 10 years. You can hear me on Iplayer at 1hr 18 minutes, and Ben Gummer MP at 2hrs 25mins.
Please also read the Iceni Website, and consider signing the petition to save Iceni, whoever and wherever you are. what else can you do? please contact your MP and ask them to support Ben Gummer MP in all that he is doing for Iceni and to challenge the funding process. And please pray lots.