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West Suffolk Council poised to agree £350,000 Community Chest funding – including £240,000 for Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice West Suffolk could receive a welcome £240,000 funding boost if proposals are rubber-stamped by West Suffolk Council.

The grant is one of 17 – totalling £350,000 – for a variety of community groups across the district recommended by the council's Community Chest initiative.

Since 2015, West Suffolk Council and its former authorities have given nearly £2.1 million to community groups and other organisations through Community Chest.

Citizens Advice West Suffolk gathered at Newmarket's memorial hall for their annual meeting of 2019 (26150320)
Citizens Advice West Suffolk gathered at Newmarket's memorial hall for their annual meeting of 2019 (26150320)

This year, the council's Grant Working Party considered applications from 46 organisations.

Recommendations from the party will now go to cabinet on Tuesday.

Subject to cabinet agreement, the grants could help to improve mental health, support families, fund counselling, advice and advocacy services, support groups, arts and sports; improve community facilities and encourage volunteering.

Cllr Robert Everitt, portfolio holder for families and communities, said: “All these organisations are doing vital work in their communities.

"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."

Recommended projects:

  • Second Chance Support Group, £3,500: Filling the gap of care services provided after discharge from hospital.
  • Steel Bones, Mildenhall, £3,500: Funding to expand services to satisfy demand.
  • Sharing Parenting – Special Needs, £17,000: Continued funding needed so parents receive education and develop skills.
  • Cruse Bereavement, West Suffolk, £8,000: Request for an employee on a contact-line and volunteers' expenses.
  • Alumah CIO, £5,870: Extend services to Barrow cum Denham, Clare and Mildenhall.
  • Relate, Bury St Edmunds, £4,500: Funding to enable further provision for relationship support.
  • Citizens Advice West Suffolk, £240,000: Provision of information, advice and advocacy.
  • Our Special Friends, across west Suffolk, £3,500: Funding for a dedicated full-time practitioner to work with vulnerable adults.
  • Bury Theatre Workshop, £4,000: Admission fee to be reduced to ensure people attend a monthly workshop.
  • The Erskine Centre, Chedburgh, £5,000: Funding to replace inefficient and leaky roof.

Meanwhile, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet has granted Mid Suffolk Citizens Advice a minimum of £260,100 over three years starting in 2020/21 – equating to £86,700 a year.

Babergh District Council’s cabinet also approved funds of at least £160,500 for Sudbury and District Citizens Advice over the same period.

Smaller levels of funding for West Suffolk, Diss and Ipswich Citizens Advice will continue to be agreed annually, with individual branches needing to apply for the money on a yearly basis.

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