£350,000 boost recommended for local community groups in West Suffolk

07 Jan 2020

A £350,000 cash boost has been recommended for 17 local community groups by West Suffolk Council through its Community Chest initiative.

Since 2015 West Suffolk Council and its former authorities have given nearly £2.1 million to community groups and other organisations as part of its families and communities work.

This year the scheme was very popular and the group of councillors considering the applications, known as the Grant Working Party, had to consider applications from 46 organisations.

Recommendations from the Grant Working Party will now go to Cabinet on 14 January for consideration.

Proposed grants include organisations from across West Suffolk with the largest one of £240,000 for Citizens Advice West Suffolk.

Subject to agreement from Cabinet, examples of some of the work (details below) include improving mental health and wellbeing, supporting families such as parents whose children have additional needs, backing counselling services for bereavement and mental health; funding advice and advocacy services especially for people who are vulnerable to help lift them out of poverty; funding support groups and services to help vulnerable adults; money for arts, sports and young people; and activities to encourage volunteering and better networking as well as improved community facilities.

Cllr Robert Everitt, Portfolio Holder for Families and Communities at West Suffolk Council said: “All these organisations are doing vital work in their communities from improving mental health to supporting vulnerable people to keeping community facilities going. The Council is not required by law to fund any of these, but we see it as a priority and think the work and support that is going on in our communities is not only important but has real tangible benefits. That is why Community Chest was set up and sits alongside our other families and community work, such as providing training, or locality budgets awarded by individual councillors. All the applications had merits and we looked at all of them very closely. Where we could not fund them, we do offer support particularly to identify other potential of other sources of funding. Since 2015 the scheme has awarded nearly £2.1million to local groups and we will once again be running it next year.”

Proposals will go to Cabinet for a final decision on the funding.

As part of the council’s work to support community groups training sessions have been set up. These include:

  • Writing a Successful Funding Application – at College Heath Road, Training Room on Friday 31 January from 10am to 1pm
  • Introduction to Business Planning – at College Heath Road, Council Chamber on Thursday 27 February from 9.30am to 4pm
  • Writing a Successful Funding Application - at Haverhill House for 7 April 2020 from 10am to 1pm
  • Crowd Funding Workshop – at West Suffolk House room 12 on Friday 17 April 2020 from 10am to 1pm.

16 spaces available per course. Please note, the courses are part funded and will only cost £10 per delegate contact jon.eaton@westsuffolk.gov.uk

List of potential projects to be funded

Grant recipient Grant amount 2020-21 Project/service
Befriending Scheme, Haverhill


Opportunities include developing friendships, learning for vulnerable and isolated people. This includes those with mental health needs and learning disabilities.
Second Chance Support Group


Filling the gap of care services provided after discharge from hospital, members range from mild to severe disabilities with various ranges of mental and emotional disabilities.
Steel Bones, Mildenhall



Funding to expand services to satisfy demand with amputee families helped by supportive peer community. The support empowers the amputees and their family and friends. They also provide comfort and help in moments of stress and crisis to overcome the trauma of amputation.

Suffolk Mind, Haverhill


Funding needed to provide ‘Get up and Grow' for another year. Ecotherapy will deliver weekly 3-hour sessions offering local people a safe supportive group with an understanding of mental health problems.
Sharing Parenting – Special Needs



Continued funding needed so parents receive education and develop skills, which will improve family life for their children who have additional needs. A range of programs trains professionals and volunteers who work within families and family support.
Cruse Bereavement, West Suffolk


Request for an employee on a Contact-line and expenses incurred by the volunteers travelling and to promote the wellbeing of those who struggle with bereavement. The objective of the organisation is to enable people to understand their grief and learn to cope with their loss.
Alumah CIO



Extend services to Barrow cum Denham, Clare and Mildenhall. To improve people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing through creative projects.
REACH, Haverhill


Funding need to help poverty restore, encourage, action in the Community. The aim of the organisation is to uncover and resolve the root issues of the people we see and lift them out of poverty, restoring dignity and reviving hope.


Relate, Bury St Edmunds


Funding will enable further provision for relationship support, fostering a thriving society. Helping people improve their relationships, delivering an inclusive, relevant and high-quality service and improve their understanding of relationships.
Citizens Advice West Suffolk - Core, across west Suffolk



Provision of information, advice and advocacy across the West Suffolk area, including financial capability work in the wider community (clients divide 67%/33% between urban/rural from last year’s figures).
Home-Start Mid and West Suffolk - Sensory


To facilitate an Autistic Spectrum Disorder support group worker providing peer support to parents and a support group in Haverhill, where referrals have been much greater.
Our Special Friends, across West Suffolk


Funding needed for a dedicated full-time practitioner who to work with vulnerable adults offering support and animal companionship tailored to the client’s needs. We support vulnerable people in West Suffolk from animal companionship.
Bury Theatre Workshop


The admission fee to be reduced to ensure that people attend a monthly workshop that recruits and empowers people, identifying their strengths in a community setting. They make friends which reduces feelings of social isolation, improves health and wellbeing and builds self-confidence.
Haverhill Community Trust


A volunteering Coordinator is needed for Peoples Bank, to work across agencies and organisations across the town to encourage volunteer activity and opportunities.
Newmarket Day Centre CIO


Would like to increase providing residents freshly cooked meals. Currently 35 meals a day five days a week and 50 meals a day five days a week to those that can access the centre.
The Erskine Centre, Chedburgh


Funding to replace thermally inefficient, and leaky, roof. To enable community projects and fetes to fundraise for the benefit of the hall and small local groups.
The Turner Hall, Newmarket


Seeking to improve facilities looking to revise and modernise the washroom facilities, entrance and kitchen areas in order to provide a disabled toilet and a shower. This is a well-used amenity with various local community groups.



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