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Good causes given Community Chest extensions by council cabinet

Good causes in West Suffolk which benefit from a six-figure pot of council cash are to be given more time to carry out their funded projects as a result of coronavirus.

West Suffolk Council runs the Community Chest fund each year for charities, voluntary organisations and other good causes to bid for a share of, totalling £357,540 this year.

Seventeen projects were told in January that their bids for 2020/21 had been successful, alongside nine organisations receiving second-year funding.

West Suffolk House....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (38952859)
West Suffolk House....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (38952859)

But that was before coronavirus hit and in a report prepared for West Suffolk Council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday night following a working group’s investigation, it was found that nine projects will need an extension of time to deliver their schemes.

They are:

• Bury Drop In

• Haverhill Community Trust

• The Befriending Scheme

• Second Chances Support Group

• Suffolk Mind

• Bury Theatre

• Turner Hall

• Newmarket Day Centre

• The Erskine Centre

A one-off exemption has also been given to Our Special Friends for it to use its £3,500 grant towards running costs, as it is now unable to deliver its originally intended project.

Jim Thorndyke who chaired the working group, said: “Various things came to a standstill and we have agreed to allow them a bit more time to spend the money.

“It seems fair because they are going to need to do something to complete their projects.

“We have also been aware of other organisations adapting to the situation they are in, and I think it is good news that they have moved [with the pandemic] as this is going to be with us a long time.”

The council has also opted to extend the application deadline for next year’s fund by a month until October 30.

Cabinet member for families and communities, Robert Everitt, said: “Community Chest is really important for the voluntary groups in and around West Suffolk to be able to come to the council and obtain funds to deliver the excellent services those voluntary groups give our residents.

“I would like to thank them for all they have done through Covid-19, it has been much appreciated by West Suffolk Council.”

Elsewhere, West Suffolk reported that 72 of the 169 projects being supported by locality budgets – individual pots of money each councillor has to spend on schemes in their own wards – have been delayed by coronavirus.

The cabinet agreed to allow an extension of the timeframe for those schemes beyond the usual 12 months for those to be completed.

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