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Hidden Needs grant programme

The Hidden Needs grant programme, developed by the former East Suffolk Partnership, previously focussed on older people and families with limited access to resources. Given the wide reach of the Covid-19 pandemic across the population, these criteria have now been updated to reflect any/all age groups in East Suffolk experiencing loneliness or isolation.

The maps available at the links below show geographical locations in the District that are/were more likely (pre-Covid-19) to have concentrations of people who are lonely and isolated. However, please remember that these maps only show where it is more likely that there are people with these needs, they do not reflect what might already be happening in these communities to tackle these needs.

We are particularly interested in funding projects that support those identified (pre-Covid-19) as more likely to be socially isolated and lonely, as we know that these individuals, families and communities are likely to be impacted by Covid-19 to a greater extent than the wider population. Projects may also target new sectors of the population who you feel have become more socially isolated as a result of the virus.


A significant amount of work has already been undertaken on social isolation in East Suffolk, including this ground-breaking hidden needs mapping and associated Hidden Needs Grant Programme, which has to date enabled a range of innovative community projects to tackle social isolation and loneliness (amongst older people or families with limited resources) in hidden need ‘hot spots’ identified through the mapping. This work has identified the effectiveness of using data and local intelligence to target effort.

The eight projects funded in the first phase of the programme were:

Group nameProject descriptionGrant Awarded
ActivLives Everyday ActivEast project – to expand their services into East Suffolk (Leiston, Felixstowe and Woodbridge) £9,950.00
English Touring Opera Turtle Song – an opportunity for people with dementia and their carers to write the lyrics and music for a new song cycle £4,000.00
Thursday's @ The Fisher Fortnightly dementia friendly screenings at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay to reduce isolation. £10,000.00
Peninsula Practice To provide training for local volunteers to become Compassionate Companions as part of a wider Compassionate Community. £10,000.00
Age UK Suffolk To create new ‘Chinwags’ groups in Beccles, Aldeburgh, Wickham Market, Woodbridge based on the existing Kesgrave project £16,722.54
Rose & Sweet William Club To purchase a mini-bus to enable the isolated members of the group to attend their club. £7,519.74
Beccles Men Shed To re-locate the Men’s Shed from a temporary home in Henstead to a permanent home in Beccles. £10,743.00
Melton Primary School To create a School Volunteering Programme tackling a range of key projects, led by a new Volunteer Coordinator. £5,800.00
Total: £74,735.28

Suffolk County Council’s Knowledge Team have updated the hidden needs maps produced two years ago, but with a wider focus on all age groups (young people, working age and older people) and including a range of different factors that might contribute to Social Isolation and Loneliness. It is expected that significantly more people will experience increased isolation and loneliness due to government restrictions in place to manage/contain Covid-19 and this programme is an opportunity to take a data and intelligence-led response to these needs.

How to apply

If you have a project idea that will help to reduce social isolation in one or more hot spot area, your first step is to discuss your idea with one of a list of lead officers. They will provide you with an application form and help you to complete it if they think your project is eligible.

Important dates

  • The fund opens: 8 June 2020
  • Application deadlines: Round 1 – 17th July 2020 | Round 2 - 30th September 2020
  • Applicants notified of outcome: Within four weeks of the closing date
  • Project end: Activities should be completed within 12 months of a grant award