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Dig reveals evidence of bronze age settlement on site of new care home in Suffolk

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An archaeological dig on the former Ipswich Airport airfield has discovered pottery pieces, ashes and rock that link to burial chambers used in the Bronze Age period. Heritage specialists Pre-Construct Archaeology have been commissioned by Care UK and its construction partner Castleoak ahead of work beginning on the new care home and wellbeing centre on the north Ipswich site.

East Suffolk Regional Director at Care UK, Paul Spinks, said: “We are very excited about starting work on our second new care home and wellbeing centre for Ipswich, which we will do once the careful and important work of the archaeology team has been completed on this historic site.”

Partnerships Director at Castleoak, Phil Andrews, is responsible for overall programme delivery. He adds: "This site has the unusual and added excitement of potentially important finds relating to prehistoric boundary systems, burial and cremation deposits. We have worked extremely hard with Care UK to bring a new care home to this site over recent months and look forward to delivering a quality facility for the local community once this vital work is complete."

The finds will be recorded and stored at Suffolk County Council’s archaeology department.

Councillor Alan Murray, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care, said: "These finds are very exciting and will help us to understand more about the history of this area and the Bronze Age in general. Our archaeology and records service will make sure that the finds are carefully stored and are available for people to enjoy now and in the future.

"Once the archaeological work has been completed I look forward to seeing the new home and wellbeing centre begin to take shape. It is important that we ensure that local people are able to access the care and support they need in surroundings that support the delivery of high quality, personalised care. We committed to making sure this happened across Suffolk and by working with Care UK on these new developments we are delivering on that promise."

The new care home, which is scheduled to open in 2015, will provide nursing and specialist dementia care services for up to 80 residents and is designed to be spacious, light and airy, with many communal areas for residents to meet with family, friends and fellow residents. The new home also has a garden with sitting out areas and attractive facilities including a café, hairdressers and small cinema.

The wellbeing centre will provide day care activities and clubs, which will help older people to maintain their independence for longer in their own homes and give valuable respite services for family carers.

This is the second new care home and wellbeing centre that Care UK is building in Ipswich, the first being Asterbury Place on Aster Road in Chantry, where the building structure has already reached completion and the new home will open in summer 2014. Overall there will be ten new care homes across the county as part of a £60 million Care UK investment programme in partnership with Suffolk County Council.

Residents from Sidegate Lane and Crabbe Street care homes in Ipswich will have the opportunity to move into the new Alnesbourn Crescent home in Ravenswood after which the existing homes, which date from the 1960s and 1970s, will close. All residents and their families are being carefully y consulted about their choices.

For further information see or call 0333 321 0956.

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