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Lowestoft charity’s new headquarters is top...cat

PUBLISHED: 06:30 24 February 2012

Opening of the new base for TOPCATS.   Picture: Nick Butcher

Opening of the new base for TOPCATS. Picture: Nick Butcher

© Archant 2012

A LOWESTOFT charity has celebrated the opening of its new headquarters.

There were beaming smiles all round last Friday as Topcats officially unveiled its new base in Morton Road, Pakefield.

The charity – which stands for Teenage Opportunities and Children’s Activities – seeks to offer a safe, enjoyable and stimulating environment for young people aged five to 30 with disabilities and additional needs.

It will now be able to cater for their needs at its brand new facilities, which include a sensory room, changing room, lounge, seated dining area, kitchen, games room, sports hall and music room.

After taking on the lease for the Morton Road building from Suffolk County Council, Topcats spent seven months working hard to prepare the building and the charity is now looking to the future and “exciting new times” ahead.

Frank Mortimer, Waveney District Council’s portfolio holder for customers and communities, and board member at Topcats, said he was thrilled to be hosting the grand opening of the new headquarters.

“This represents the culmination of a great deal of hard work 
from so many different partners and it’s simply wonderful to see the 
centre officially up and running,” he said. “The facilities that are now on offer here at Topcats are second to none and I am certain that they will be enjoyed by all those who attend the centre.

“I’d like to say a big ‘thank-you’ to everyone who has made this happen, especially those councillors who have kindly donated funding from their locality budgets. It really is a centre to be very proud of.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous officially opened the headquarters and cut the ribbon. He was joined at the event by Waveney council leader Colin Law, the council’s chairman Peter Collecott and mayor of Lowestoft Tod Sullivan. Also present were Suffolk county councillors Deanna Law, Mike Barnard, Mary Rudd, Bruce Provan and Bill Mountford, who all agreed to donate money to Topcats from their locality budgets.

Topcats offers short breaks for young people aged five to 30 at four Saturday groups, which each cover a different age-range – five to 12-year-olds; 12 to 18-year-olds; 13 to 30-year-olds and 18 to 30-year-olds.

During school holidays, the four groups get together for daytime activities and outings.

The charity also operates an after-school club which offers a welcoming meeting place. The youngsters are collected from school, given dinner and cared for until 5.45pm.

Since receiving the lease, Topcats has started running five new services: Topcats Tiddles, a parent/carer toddler group for under fives with disabilities; Your Future, offering an easy learning environment for young people looking towards independent living; Topcats 18-30s, a stimulating group for young people with more complex needs; Coffee Break, a relaxed café for anyone with disabled relatives which also offers a free crèche for under fives; and Pals, which provides an inviting place for carers and those they care for to meet, chat and enjoy lunch together.

Topcats also rents space to other local clubs and charities.

For more information, visit www.topcats.org.uk


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