Community projects across East Suffolk have received a funding boost to support their activities which benefit local residents.
Following successful applications to East Suffolk Council’s Enabling Communities ‘Exemplar Grant Programme’, 19 community projects were chosen to each receive a share of £160,000 to help deliver projects and activities which will benefit East Suffolk residents.
One of the projects to receive funding is currently being carried out at Woodbridge Rugby Club. The club received £9,056 towards a full kitchen refurbishment, which will enable them to meet the demand to provide food before matches to over 400 members and their guests.
Rob Simpson, Chairman of Woodbridge Rugby Club, said: “We have operated with a largely domestic kitchen with just a couple of commercial applications for a number of years now.
“However, in recent years we have seen a big increase in the number of people attending lunches before League matches and children attending on Sunday, meaning that we needed to increase the size of the kitchen and upgrade to a commercial set up to meet the demand.
“The funding from East Suffolk Council has made a significant contribution towards the project. We have now carried out work to extend the kitchen by over 1 metre, laid new flooring and wall coverings, and will soon be fitting a full range of commercial appliances and storage.”
Other projects include refurbishment of local village halls and play areas, the construction of a Heritage Hut, theatre workshops to help disadvantaged groups engage with the arts and the delivery of a programme tackling eating disorders in local schools.
Cllr Letitia Smith, Cabinet Member for Communities, Leisure and Tourism said: “We are delighted to award these local projects with funding through the Exemplar Grant Programme. We were extremely impressed by the quality of this year’s applications and the range of innovative and impactful activities being supported by volunteers and groups across the district.
“We want to help local organisations deliver a wide range of community activities which will improve and enhance the lives of our residents. Funding for small projects is still available trough our Enabling Communities Budget and we would encourage any group to apply to support their activities.”
The 19 projects to receive funding through the ‘Exemplar Grant Programme’ are:
The Exemplar Grants Programme enables community groups to deliver large ‘flagship’ projects, with funding of up to £10,000.
Since 2016, 68 community projects have benefited from the Exemplar Grants Programme, receiving funding totalling £544,014.36. £160,000 was allocated for 2019/2020 programme from the New Homes Bonus.
Whilst applications for this round of the Exemplar Grants Programme are now closed, local groups and organisations can still apply for funding to support their activities via the Council’s Enabling Community Budgets.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, each district councillor allocated £1,000 from their 2020/21 Enabling Communities Budget (ECB) budget towards a new Covid-19 hardship fund. A further £45k was subsequently added to the Covid-19 Hardship Funding from councillors ECB budgets – some councillors chose to donate directly to a local group.
This means for the 2020/21 period, a total of £306,000 has been allocated from New Homes Bonus (funding generated through new houses built in the district). This gives each of the 54 elected members of East Suffolk Council either a £5,500 or £6,500 Enabling Communities Budget to spend on community projects or to develop new projects in their ward to tackle local need.
Previous projects which have benefitted from Enabling Community Budget funding include play areas, village hall refurbishments and equipment, community events, projects supporting people with disabilities and the purchase of defibrillators.
See more information about the Enabling Community Budget.