News update February 2015 – League of Friends support the Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund, Information and Support Centre Project

We held our AGM on Wednesday 10th December in the United Reformed Church, where we were joined by Adele Madin, Director of Adult Services at East Coast Community Healthcare, who spoke about the temporary closure of inpatient beds at the Patrick Stead, and answered questions and concerns from members of the public. Adele reassured those present that this decision hadn’t been taken lightly by ECCH and that patient safety had to be paramount. Steps were being taken to recruit more staff and that they were determined to have the beds open again in March. Following this, we were delighted to hear that ECCH have been successful in recruiting more nurses and that the inpatient beds will re-open on the 2nd March. This is fantastic news, as the closure of the 14 beds, since November, has had a huge impact locally. Local support has been incredible with over 2,650 people signing the petition to show their support for the beds re-opening.

The evening also included presentations on two health related projects in Halesworth. Firstly, Doctor Richard Kell, and Ted Edwards talked about the Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund campaign to raise £714,000 to build an Information and Support Centre for people with life limiting illnesses. This is an exciting and innovative project, and the ISC will be a huge asset to Halesworth, offering support and counselling to those that have been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, as well as their family and friends. The ISC aims to bring a full range of holistic services closer to home for people in north east Suffolk and south Norfolk. League members unanimously agreed to donate £20,000 to support this worthy project.

Nikki Sawkins and Tessa Harding gave an update on the Halesworh Carers’ Fund and their excellent work in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society and Cutlers Hill Surgery to establish and run the Dementia Support Project. Alison Begley a trained dementia support worker with the Alzheimer’s Society is based as the surgery 2 days a week and provides one to one support to local people living with dementia and their carers’. The project also helps with respite for carers, assistance with transport costs, and strives to ensure that Halesworth is a Dementia friendly town. The Friends have agreed to further support the Carers’ Fund over the next year, and more details will follow.

During the AGM, Dr Bill Pagan was reappointed as President. Election of Officers: Chair – Karen Kerridge, Vice Chair – Alan Witherby, Secretary – John Lewis, Minutes Secretary – Yvonne Power, Treasurer – Robert Helliwell. Election of the Committee: Pauline Feller, Roger Smith-Howell, Rosemary Smith-Howell, Jan Helliwell, Judith Mesquita and Mary Hills. Thanks go to our outgoing Treasurer, Mat Waters for his hard work and input in dealing with our finances for the last 3 years and to committee members Ian Feller and Kath Witherby. Thank you to all of our members, committee members and officers for all the time and effort that has been donated over the year in supporting the work of the League of Friends.

We were delighted to hear the exciting news that Halesworth Health has confirmed that a suitable care provider has been selected to work in partnership with them. Castlemeadow Care has drawn up impressive plans to build and run a new facility on land adjacent to the current Patrick Stead/Cutlers Hill Surgery site. “Halesworth Rising” an event being organised at the Rifle Hall on Saturday 21st March, will provide more information about this and other local projects.

Our cake and tombola stall outside Coopers on a chilly morning in December was a great success. Altogether we raised a grand total of £362.95. Thanks to members and everyone that baked for us, and of course everyone that bought!

Belated birthday wishes to Bryan Samain who recently celebrated a special birthday and get well wishes to Muriel Barber for her continued good recovery.

Our next full members’ meeting is on Wednesday 18th March at 7.30pm in the Garden Room. New members very welcome. For more information on the League of Friends, Halesworth Health, Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund, Cutlers Hill Surgery and the First Responders please visit our website Also, the Friends now have a Facebook page, so please like us for news and regular updates.