Future of HOPS

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Extraordinary general meeting – future of HOPS

 Held at The Cedars hotel Stowmarket at 7:30 pm on the 12th March 2019.

The purpose of the meeting was to inform parents and carers that HOPS has been unable to secure an alternative setting and given time and available resources Trustees have decided that the scheme will close when our lease runs out in September 2019.

This is not a decision taken lightly and as a team we are very upset that this is now our only course of action. The linked reports highlight the efforts we have made and the broad range of challenges that are affecting the scheme and our staff and explains why we have had to make this decision.

It was very disappointing that only 16 people attended the meeting this week, only six of these were parents and whilst we can understand that it may be difficult to attend, the turnout did not reflect the level of concern we expected.

HOPS has run on the efforts of a few dedicated staff, volunteers and only 5 voluntary trustees. We need to consider the well-being of our staff and remove the uncertainty that has affected us all over the last 12 months.

If a Charity offering a similar service is to be founded, time and resources mean it would need to be a new CIO with a new set of appropriately skilled trustees at a new setting.

In the meantime we intend for the HOPS scheme to run as normal for the children this summer and we will celebrate its success and support our loyal staff and volunteers going forward.

EGM Summary
List of Building
Architects drawing Stowmarket
Architects drawing Mendlesham
MP letter Dan Poulter
MP letter Jack Abbott
MP letter Jo Churchill
MP Letter Matt Handcock
MP Letter Sandy Martin


The search for a new venue HOPS continues, with the media and radio coverage over the past few weeks, the profile of HOPS has been raised. This has not only served to raise the issue of needing  a new building but has drawn new children to HOPS services.

For the charity to continue it is vital we find a new building within the next month or so.

Unfortunately a small village Hall would not suit the requirements of the service that we provide.

We provide day care services for children with special needs, for this we need space. Wheelchairs and the need for  specialist equipment to be on hand takes up room  and many of our children are lively and need space to burn off their energy. We are regulated by Ofsted so any new premises we go into must be inspected and approved by them for use.

Here is what we need 

    Our needs are as such and must have the following
    must be accessible for wheelchairs both inside and out.
    must have space to enable installation of disability toileting facilities
    must have space to enable installation of specialist disability equipment ( sensory and soft play)
    must have space for kitchen facilities
    The outside space must allow school type fencing to be erected.


A140 corridor Needham to Diss
A14 corridor East of Ipswich to West of Bury St Edmunds
Mainly within the Mid Suffolk area, but we are willing to look at wider area.

 Both inside and out side space is essential  

we are looking for something ideally with the following approximate size


25 meters by 10 meters approx


25 meters by 20 meters ( or substantial outside space) 


We are looking to rent a building for a minimum of 5 years

       If you know of a building that may be suitable them please contact us



Interested in finding out more about disability 1st Mellis Brownies Mellis and Yaxley 1st Guides visited HOPS as part of their syllabus towards their badges.

The Brownies had a fun evening exploring the HOPS building looking for the answers to questions they had been set. Many of the brownies found the sensory room, soft play and ball pool the most exciting areas to be in. They were told about the different ways in which HOPS staff communicate with children with PEC’s symbols around the building helping them explore activities. They learned about different disabilities and talked about their own experience of disability.

The Guides were also set a visual challenge around the setting pulling together their answers from questions sets. They too talked about disability and how this might effect people. Again the Guides enjoyed time in the sensory room and ball pool. They also experienced what it was like to be hoisted, by staff and how scary it can be not being in control of your own movements, but how communication can make the event more pleasurable.

1st Mellis Brownies Mellis and Yaxley 1st Guides had collected coins in in sweet tubes to give to HOPS as a donation.

HOPS would like to say a big Thank you to the brownies and guides for the kind donation of £134.75

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Sunday 28th October, was D Day for Phil Sherriff and Gary Walton, this was the day of the Skydive.

Gary and Phil members of the Norfolk Advance Motorcyclists, have been regular visitors to HOPS on the annual Easter ride out delivering Easter Eggs to the children and also raising funds for HOPS.

The skydive was on Phil’s bucket list and thought it would be a good way of raising extra funds for HOPS. Gary kindly agreed to join Phil on this fundraising free-fall.

The day arrived, freezing cold, grey, drizzling Sunday morning, not the best weather, but nerves and excitement filled the air. It wasn’t long before the briefing was over and the guys were togged up and ready to go.

The sun came out as plane circled upwards as we watched from the ground, eventually we could see small dots high in the air.  it wasn’t long before they came soaring over our heads and landed in the paddock beside the spectators.  On getting his breath back Gary said ” the free fall was only a minute, but i was glad when the shoot when up”…. Phil said” it was great, but my stomach needs to recover now”

Two months on from the Skydive we are please to announce that the total raised was £1960.00.

We thank both Phil and Gary for your support of HOPS

the link for donation is https://mydonate.bt.com/charity/search-results.html?searchString=Mid+Suffolk+HOPS

Gary and Phil skydve


HOPS Promotional Video

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We would like to thank the families for their support in the making of this video.

Thanks also to Simon Banthorpe for filming and producing the video and Alexander (aged 14) for producing the music, both whom generously gave their time to help raise the profile of our small




This summer see’s the 40th anniversary of Mid Suffolk HOPS.

We would like to hear from anyone who has been connected with HOPS over the past 40 years. families of children who attended HOPS sessions, Volunteers, Staff member, Trustees, past supporters of the charity.

It is our intention to compile a record of the past and present with photo’s, stories and memories. This will be shared at our celebration event.

How did attending HOPS help the children and young people or their families.

Families past and present – we are hoping you will tell us about parties and celebration events attended as well as memories from HOPS play days and activity sessions. was there a key member of staff or volunteers who helped or supported you?

How volunteering at HOPS helped with career choices or help shaped your future.

Volunteers past and present  – We are looking ,day trips out, abseiling down Ipswich hospital fundraising event,  team building events like ten pin bowling and paint-balling, strange things found in tabbard pockets…..

anything that will help recall the history of HOPS through your eyes.

We have to this present day key staff members who volunteered in their early teenage years who are now employed by HOPS. One of them remarked on the tuck shop( pre 2002) at HOPS, “The tuck shop was a highlight for all at HOPS, full of sugar filled delights. How things have changed! this was before healthy snacks had even been invented”

Help us make this a very special year at HOPS and share the information as widely as you can.

Get in touch with us at HOPS by email at MIDSUFFOLKHOPS@GMAIL.COM

We look forward to hearing from you all.



The Young Farmer from the Gipping Valley area of Suffolk held a fundraising event with a twist this year.

Who knew that Pig Racing would big home the bacon……. £1,500

The Young Farmers explained that battery operated pigs where used for the pig racing event held 22nd September to raise funds for the Young Farmers and their chosen charity for 2017 (HOPS).

The young Farmer invited HOPS to receive a cheque for £750  at there AGM earlier this month.

The money donated will go towards the refurbishment of HOPS Soft Play area.


Approximately 35 Young Professionals from PPG from all over the UK, rolled up their sleeves to give Settles House a lick of paint turning a very clinical building in to a space that is bright and air space.

Some the Young professionals from PPG told us they normally attended a conference at this time of year to bring them all together from various locations from around the UK, but they were thoroughly enjoying  the challenge of a community project.

Area’s of the front and back garden were also tackled, with fake turf being laid against the building, where noting would grow, screening for the oil tank, and 2 “Mud Kitchen”, loving made by the team at Stowmarket Men’s Shed.

HOPS would like to say a big thank you for everyone’s hard work, this includes friends and families of those attending the HOPS scheme in moving and replacing all the equipment and furnishings from the 12 areas that PPG have decorated.

Below are some photo’s of the end results.

   HOPS is looking to expand its Senior Staff base.

We are seeking to employ upto 3 Deputy Team leaders.

Level 3 qualifications would be desirable, however more importantly to HOPS is experience of working with children and young people who require additional support and those with care plans within a social/ play session.

Although HOPS runs sessions during School Holiday and at weekends, we are prepaired to split the posts to weekend only or School holidays only if candidates indicate at time of application.

For more informatio  please use links below.

Full advert

Job Description


Application form

Closing date for applications 5th December 2017

Interviews from 16th December 2017


Transformation @ HOPS

Posted in 2017, HOPS General | Comments Off



National Citizens Service

Team Unity Transformation @ HOPS


Many young people aged 15 to 17 took part in the National Citizens Service programme  during the summer of 2017.

Each group of young people had to choose a charity or worthy cause to help during their programme of events.

Team Unity chose to support HOPS.

Some of Team Unity volunteer at HOPS and wanted to improve the look and feel of the back and front gardens at HOPS.   The back garden at Settles house had become quite over grown and a planters in the front garden had become a bit tatty.

Team Unity, raised funds to buy paint and plants,they also sourced other equipment needed for their project. The team put in many man hours to cut back and tidy up the back garden and spent a few hours jet washing the patio.

Below are photos of the results of their hard work, if you look at photos from the summer you will see the extent achievement

Thank you Team Unity for all your hard work!!

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