£300,000 available through annual Community Chest scheme

The community response to the Covid-19 crisis has been remarkable and West Suffolk Council is looking to continue its work to support voluntary and community sector groups in the next phase.

The council, which has helped co-ordinate some of the volunteer response through the “Home But Not Alone” helpline, is making more than £300,000 available through its annual Community Chest grants scheme which is now open for applications.

The money is available to invest in community led initiatives designed to benefit the lives of residents. Community groups, charities, voluntary organisations, faith groups and social enterprises can all apply for funding.

Some of those groups who benefitted from last year’s Community Chest grans scheme include Steel Bones, from Bury St Edmunds, who gained £3,500 to enable it to extend its family support programme; Newmarket Day Care Centre who received £10,000 to help upgrade its aging kitchen; Second Chance Stroke Club, in Great Barton, £3,500; Alumah, in Brandon, £5,800, to help with their work with victims and survivors of domestic abuse; REACH, Haverhill, £10,000; and Gatehouse, Bury St Edmunds, £10,000.

John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “We launched Community Chest in 2015, and that work, investing in and working with our communities, meant that we were able to set about helping the most vulnerable early on in the crisis. We know Covid-19 hasn’t gone away but we also know that we need to look beyond that to the long-term recovery and the role people in our communities will play in supporting each other.

“The lockdown situation will undoubtedly have effected many people’s physical and mental health. While our LifeLink social prescribing team may be able to help some of those who feel anxious or are feeling low, we know that there are also many great community-based initiatives out there that can help. We have invested in many of these in the past, helping residents who were lonely, isolated, people with low self-esteem or who didn’t feel a part of the community, and in projects to help families struggling emotionally with some of life’s daily pressures. Within our communities there are answers to some of these challenges in our society and that is why we are delighted to be opening Community Chest to applications once again.”

To apply for Community Chest funding, read the guidance and then complete the online application at https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/community/community-grants.cfm

The deadline for applications is 11.59pm on October 30. The applications will then be reviewed by West Suffolk’s Grant Working Party. Applicants will then be notified in February 2021 with successful applicants receiving funding in April 2021.

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