A Moving Christmas Story!
27 November 2020

A moving Christmas story: SMART relocates Ipswich grotto

As one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of quality outside buildings, SMART has been thrilled to help out two Suffolk charities by earlier this week (24 November) transporting its donated Christmas grotto from one Suffolk charity to another.

You may recall that last Christmas SMART donated the prototype of our Temple Folly design, which marries the use of innovative technology with good old-fashioned craftsmanship in an attractive and appealing style, to Suffolk Mind’s Quay Place, near Ipswich’s Waterfront. Suffolk Mind used the building as its highly successful Christmas Grotto.

Since then, the county’s leading mental health charity has moved out of Quay Place, meaning that the grotto needed to be re-homed.

Matt Moss, SMART’s managing director, explained that: “Based on a recommendation from our good friends at Suffolk Mind, we approached Orwell Mencap to see if they could use the building and were delighted to receive a positive response!”

Orwell Mencap is a not-for-profit, user-led organisation, started by parents of people with disabilities and based at Wright Road, Ipswich. It provides a range of services including daytime support services, support in the home and community, social enterprises, Domiciliary Services, supported living and a social club in the evening. Not only has the SMART building found a new home, it is being put to a totally different use. Orwell Mencap aims to turn it into an isolated IT hub (the ‘ISO-Hub’), where, one at a time, visitors can use the IT facilities in the one-time grotto.

“The Iso-Hub has been created because of the COVID19 pandemic and the resulting need for social distancing. It will act as a much needed break out space for those using other facilities at the Wright Road site and that is why SMART has been so keen to help” added Matt.

Kay Parr, Orwell Mencap’s chair of trustees, thanked SMART: “We are really grateful to SMART for the use of the ISO-Hub for our customers. Making high quality garden furniture can be physically and mentally demanding for people with disabilities and we are so grateful to have such a high quality building to use as break out space.”

Paul Sheppard, SMART’s operations director, added: “The change of use shows just how versatile such buildings can be. We’re especially pleased to be able to help Orwell Mencap in this way as we have a growing relationship with them. They are a fantastic charity.”

Matt and Paul visited Orwell Mencap’s high quality garden furniture workshop where every stage of the construction process is carried out on site by people with disabilities or disadvantages under the watchful eyes of experienced staff.

As a result, SMART has set up a free ‘collection’ of its off cuts of wood which are then collected by the charity, free of charge, for use at their workshop.

Our thanks go to BJ & C Carberry Haulage again for their assistance: https://www.carberryhaulage.co.uk/

If you would like to know more about Orwell Mencap and the amazing services that they offer, please visit their website: http://www.orwellmencap.co.uk/