Cabinet to consider investing £460,000 in community initiatives

Voluntary and community groups and organisations across West Suffolk have been at the heart of the Covid-19 response and next week West Suffolk Council’s Cabinet will consider further supporting them with more than £460,000 in funding.

Over the past year the council has worked with existing voluntary and community groups and organisations across West Suffolk, helped new ones set up, and through the Home But Not Alone service, it has coordinated support to some of the most vulnerable residents in West Suffolk, getting their medicines, food shopping as well as offering people who are lonely, someone to talk to.

This year’s Community Chest saw the council receive a record number of applications with a total of £466,733 of funding available.

The annual scheme is open to community groups, charities and voluntary organisations to deliver schemes that benefit the lives of West Suffolk residents. This has included projects in the past that have supported new parents, struggling families, brought generations of people together, reached out to people who felt disengaged from their community, and helped people feel less isolated or lonely.

The council’s Grant Working Party held three meetings totalling some 12 hours to consider the 62 applications.

Chairman of the Grant Working Party, Jim Thorndyke, said: “We were swamped with applications and we have tried to award the funding in a way that is fair, takes into account all the information submitted to us by the applicants, and  will deliver benefits to residents across the whole of West Suffolk particularly as we look ahead to the Covid-19 recovery.”

The working party has recommended Cabinet approve grants totalling £466,733 be awarded to 33 applicants. The council will give advice to the remaining applicants including the other funding schemes that they can approach.

Robert Everitt, Cabinet Member for Families and Communities, said: “The work that we have done in previous years, helping many community groups, charities and organisations establish themselves through Community Chest and our councillor locality grants, has proven itself invaluable, particularly in these past 12 months. It is going to be just as important going forward into the recovery. Our role is in supporting these groups and investing in their work to deliver real benefits for our local residents and I am looking forward to discussing the Grant Working Party’s recommendations with my Cabinet colleagues when we meet next week.”

In addition to the Community Chest grants, Cabinet will also be asked to consider £61,250 of funding to help the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds.

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