Sadness as children's charity forced to close
PUBLISHED: 13:55 17 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:11 18 August 2019
Mid Suffolk HOPS, which has helped hundreds of children with special educational needs over the last 40 years, have announced they will close at the end of this month.
The charity based in Eye in Suffolk, have had to give up on their three year long struggle to find a new home, meaning they can no longer carry on with their important work providing weekend and holiday activities for disabled children.
HOPS have been in their current building for 20 years but their lease will not be renewed as the site has been earmarked for housing - something they highlighted when they won a Stars of Suffok award for team of the year in 2018.
Having helped many families in Suffolk since it opened in 1978, Mid Suffolk Hops is now undergoing the sad process of closing down.
HOPS charity coordinator Jackie Markell who has worked for them for 19 years said: "For the last three years we have been looking for safe premises for the children.
"The hunt had to come to an end and we couldn't find anything suitable for them. For safety reasons we have had to close the charity down.
"It's really sad as thousands of volunteers have helped hundreds of families over the 40 years."
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HOPS are one of the only charities that help children with special educational needs from the age of four, ensuring they had fun at weekends and in the school holidays.
Many people that have volunteered with HOPS have gone on to be teachers and speech and language therapists.
Teenage volunteers have been thanking Mrs Markell for the support the charity has given them over the years.
Mrs Markell, who herself volunteered with HOPS when she was 14, said: "It has been very rewarding, you see children with special needs having a fantastic time and teenage volunteers grow into adults."
The charity are now asking volunteers and families they have helped to come together to say farewell to HOPS.
"The farewell event is a celebration of our achievements," said Mrs Markell.
If you would like to attend the farewell event in Stowmarket on Saturday, August 31 please email Event@midsuffolkhops.org.uk.