Since 1998, Iceni has transformed the lives of numerous families in Ipswich and the surrounding area through its holistic approach to addiction and abuse.
Iceni was founded to fulfil a need and improve situations where none previously existed.
With little funding and no evidence that the chosen approach would work, it was two years before the first person entered our doors for support.
We designed a programme that tackles entrenched societal problems and inequalities rather than simply dealing with symptoms.
Since its inception, Iceni has become synonymous with introducing different and untried approaches, and has never been afraid to circumvent traditional methods and techniques to achieve successful outcomes for individuals, families and the communities of Ipswich and Suffolk.
History of Iceni
1998 – Iceni established
The Iceni Project begins administrative operations from within the head office of Ipswich Housing Action Group, converting an unused lavatory into an office.
1990 – First client attends Iceni
Working from a shed on the premises of the Ipswich Community Resource Centre.
2000 – Moved into our first official premises
In the first year of being operational, over 200 people attended Iceni and it was clear that we would quickly outgrow our premises.
2002 – Received first investment
A £120,000 innovation grant was awarded by Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Team (DAAT) to help develop our work.
2003 – Relocated to new premises
A mixture of statutory and charitable funding enabled us to move to larger premises on Fore Street.
2004 – 1,000th client attends Iceni
Referral numbers boosted by award of first statutory contract with Suffolk Probation Service.
2006 – Ipswich street worker murders
The murders of five women involved in street prostitution saw Iceni play a leading role in assisting the majority of women to safely exit street prostitution.
2008 – Iceni wins Guardian Charity of the Year award
Iceni gains national recognition for its work during and following the murders, with 22 organisations since spending time with Iceni in an attempt to learn from our experience.
2009 – On the move again
Moved to a new location on Foundation Street. Comprising of 36 rooms over three floors, it allowed us to increase client capacity by 50%.
2010 – Iceni loses 80% of its funding
A local tender process in 2010 which favoured large national organisations greatly reduced our income.
2011 – 2012 – Fighting for survival
A successful fundraising campaign to keep Iceni open raised over £300,000.
2013 – New beginnings
The Iceni Project was officially closed and Iceni Ipswich was born.
2014 – Time for change
Improved our governance arrangements by bringing in new trustees and examined the operational and financial risks we will face as the market we operate in changes.
2015 – 5000th person attends Iceni for support
Our family service proved the need for such a service with around 450 clients attending every year.
2018 – Another move
We moved into our current location that provides the excellent facilities we need to work with families.
2019 – Iceni founder honoured by the Queen
Brian Tobin, CEO of Iceni, is awarded an MBE for services to drug rehabilitation in Suffolk.
What does the future hold?
From the beginning, it has been clearly understood that Iceni has a role to challenge orthodoxy, innovate new services and advocate for vulnerable sections of society. This role will continue.
Whatever the future holds, we should never forget who the real winners should be. Not us, nor partnerships, nor commissioners, nor the government. The real winners will be the families and children who seek our support. Iceni is nothing if they don’t become winners.
Awards and Recognition
- NatWest Community Force Challenge – 2012 & 2017
- Lloyds Bank Challenge – 2013 & 2016
- The Guardian Charity of the Year – 2008
- Featured in London Road, performed at the National Theatre, and Five Daughters, an award-winning BBC drama.
- Regular appearances on BBC Radio Suffolk, plus ITV and BBC regional news.
- Appearances on BBC Radio 4, Radio 5, Sky News and BBC 3.
- BBC Newsnight – Spoke about how we dealt with street prostitution in Ipswich.
- Iceni chief executive Brian Tobin awarded Honorary Doctorate by the University of Suffolk – 2017
- Brian Tobin named an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List – 2019
Whilst awards and acknowledgment are welcomed, the greatest accolade is to witness the families we work with flourish.
How you can help Suffolk families that need your support
As a charity, Iceni depends on the ongoing support of businesses, individuals and local authorities. There are various ways you can lend a hand and make a positive difference to families across Suffolk.