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Citizens Advice among good causes set for West Suffolk funding after county council grant cut

PUBLISHED: 16:06 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:06 29 November 2018

Jane Ballard said grants were vital for Citizens Advice Bureaux in Suffolk Picture: GREGG BROWN

Jane Ballard said grants were vital for Citizens Advice Bureaux in Suffolk Picture: GREGG BROWN

Good causes in West Suffolk have been awarded a share of a £400,000 pot – with a six figure sum confirmed for Citizens Advice bureaux just days after their county council grants were announced as being cut.

Citizens Advice has been told its Suffolk County Council grant will be cut from 2019 Picture: CABCitizens Advice has been told its Suffolk County Council grant will be cut from 2019 Picture: CAB

West Suffolk’s shadow executive met on Tuesday night where it approved the 10 Forest Heath schemes and six St Edmundsbury projects which were successful.

The pot helps support community groups and charities which work in a host of areas, including family support, counselling, arts, sports and advice.

Following approval last year as part of a two year funding agreement, Suffolk West Citizens Advice was awarded £182,000 from the St Edmundsbury share, with a further £40,000 from the Forest Heath pot and £35,000 for the Newmarket branch.

It comes just days after Suffolk County Council announced it would axe its £368,000 grant from next year as part of its cost cutting measures, although confirmed earlier this week that those cuts would be phased in to allow CAB time to seek other external funding.

Robert Everitt said the grants recognised the hard work of good causes in west Suffolk Picture: CHRIS SHIMWELLRobert Everitt said the grants recognised the hard work of good causes in west Suffolk Picture: CHRIS SHIMWELL

Jane Ballard, district manager at Suffolk West CAB, said: “This funding is all the more important to us because it funds our core service maintaining the provision of advice via drop in at our offices in Brandon and Mildenhall as well as our money advice and benefit appeal casework.

“This core funding then enables us to apply for dedicated project funds to respond to specific community needs.

“However, our service could not be run on project income alone, because it is too insecure; it provides short term funding only and is directed to achieve specific aims, whereas our entire strength is in the holistic nature of our advice, in which for one client we can deal with several different types of problem, refer to our own caseworkers for specific support and assess eligibility for external referrals if needed.

“So, recognition of the importance of ensuring that the wide range of general advice we provide is available to all who need it, and that it is maintained in the local community, is greatly appreciated.

“All Suffolk Citizens Advice are currently involved in discussing these issues with Suffolk County Council, who are planning the withdrawal of all Citizens Advice funding in the county over the next two years.

Councillor Robert Everitt, cabinet member for families and communities at St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “Local charities, community groups and voluntary organisations are often the best placed to help address some of the issues we face in our society.

“Community chest allows us as councillors to help make these ideas happen, to invest in our local families and communities, in turn making life better for residents including some of the more vulnerable in West Suffolk.”

Councillor Robin Millar, Forest Heath cabinet member for families and communities added: “The success of community chest lies in strengthening families and empowering local communities to deal with the many challenges that we face in all walks of life.

“From breaking down the barriers between generations and creating role models among our young people, to providing emotional and practical support to people who have been impacted by domestic abuse, there are some great projects which I am pleased that my cabinet colleagues agreed to support.”

In Forest Heath 10 organisations are approved to receive a share of £151,478 of funding in 2019/20:

• £4000 – Alumah community interest organisation

• £15,612 – HomeStart Mid and West Suffolk

• £7,966 – The Voluntary Network

• £27,160 – Sharing Parenting

• £35,000 – Citizens Advice Newmarket

• £40,000 – Citizens Advice Suffolk West

• £7,740 – Our Special Friends

• £5,000 – Arts for Us

• £4,000 – Young People of the Year

• £5,000 – The Racing Centre (Newmarket)

In addition, cabinet also approved subject to both the budget setting process for 2020/2021 and to more evidence being submitted by each organisation, to three sets of grants in Forest Heath totalling £63,492 to be awarded over 2019/20 and 2020/21:

• £11,600 in 2019/20 and another £11,600 in 2020/21 – Fresh Start - New Beginnings

• £2,000 in 2019/20 and another £2,000 in 2020/21 – Relate Norfolk and Suffolk

• £18,331 in 2019/20 and another £17,961 – The Voluntary Network

In St Edmundsbury, grants to six organisations for 2019/20 totalling £47,920 were approved:

• £9,889 – HomeStart Mid and West Suffolk

• £10,775 – Mentis Tree community interest company

• £3,290 – Bury St Edmunds Concert Youth Band

• £6,800 – Millennium Farm Trust

• £3,240 – Honington and Sapiston Village Hall

• £13,926 – Stradishall Village Review Group

In addition, cabinet approved subject to both the budget setting process for 2020/2021 and to more evidence being submitted by each organisation, six sets of grants in St Edmundsbury totalling £152,972 to be awarded over 2019/20 and 2020/21:

• £10,000 in 2019/20 and £10,000 in 2020/21 – Gatehouse

• £5,000 in 2019/20 and £5000 in 2020/21 – Suffolk Accident and Rescue Service (SARS)

• £12,288 in 2019/20 and £12,288 – Bury Drop In

• £9,360 in 2019/20 and £9,360 in 2020/21 – REACH Community Projects

• £14,337 in 2019/20 and £15,800 in 2020/21 – The Voluntary Network Community Transport

• £24,371 in 2019/20 and £25,168 in 2020/21 – Haverhill Community Trust

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