Help for Historic Almshouses

Residents of the historic Elmswell almshouses have some new facilities, thanks to a day of hard work by a group of Stowmarket

Residents of the historic Elmswell almshouses have some new facilities, thanks to a day of hard work by a group of Stowmarket Gipping Valley Rotarians.

 

Eight members of the club spent a Saturday constructing steps and a ramp to improve access to the road and also planting 100 yew plants to create a hedgerow along the back of the almshouse gardens.

 

The Grade Two Star listed almshouses were built in 1641 and are believed to be the second oldest building in Elmswell after the adjacent church. They are now run by a charitable trust for the benefit of single women aged at least 50 who have previously lived in Elmswell and Woolpit or who have strong connections with the two villages.

 

Lesley Reed, secretary of the trust, said that the trustees had strictly limited resources and were therefore delighted to receive both financial and practical support from local Rotarians.

 

“The upkeep of such a historic building poses a constant challenge to the trustees, particularly as the almshouses remain a working resource for the community and need to be maintained to modern living standards.

 

“This work has been of huge practical and financial benefit to us, and we can’t thank the Rotary Club enough.”

 

Guus Hamel, the club’s junior vice-president, who was in charge of the work, said that the club was always keen to undertake worthwhile practical work for charities in the area as well as just providing funding.

 

He also paid tribute to the help received from the Bury St Edmunds branch of Jewson’s builders merchants, who provided the building materials free of charge.

 

“The club had been prepared to pay for all the plants and material for this project, so to receive this generous contribution from Jewson’s was a pleasant surprise.”