Councilors set to considered Community Chest Grants

West Suffolk House – Photo credit St Edmundsbury Borough Council Facebook Page

Projects to help people recover from alcohol abuse, get young people involved in sports development, tackle mental health issues, assist struggling families and support carers, could all receive a welcome boost this month.

Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council will decide on £370,000 of new Community Chest grants for 2018/19 at their Cabinet meetings this month. The grants all focus on helping families and communities to become more resilient, stronger and caring for each other.

Among those recommended for approval in Forest Heath is £5,000 to Suffolk Mind, for a project which will work with businesses in Newmarket, helping them understand and plan for good mental health in their workforces and the wider community.

Forest Heath Cabinet will also receive a recommendation for more than £3,000 for the next two years to Anglia Care Trust, for a programme of outreach support to vulnerable people who are involved with or on the edge of street drinking. The service is delivered on a one to one basis aiming to empower the individuals to take positive steps to reduce the amount and strength of alcohol they consume. This is achieved through interventions including medical and alcohol treatment appointments, one to one support sessions, monitoring of alcohol consumption and access to financial and debt advice.

St Nicholas Hospice Care is also recommended for a grant to pilot its outreach service ‘Open House’ in Brandon Open House aims to help people facing long term and life threatening illnesses, loved ones, carers or those struggling with bereavement. The drop in sessions offer the chance to meet others facing similar situations, hear about their experiences, and get information on things such as symptom management, goal setting and planning for the future.

Open House offers a gentle introduction to St Nicholas Hospice Care and the range of services available. Patients are also made aware of other Hospice services and alternative services in the community. In addition, people attending the meetings are encouraged to meet up outside of the group to form their own friendships and support.

This service will also be recommended for support to St Edmundsbury Borough Council Cabinet for Bury St Edmunds, Barrow and Haverhill.

Cllr Robin Millar, Forest Heath’s Cabinet Member for Families and Communities said: “Whether it is through supporting families and individuals at challenging times in their lives, or through providing opportunities to people who would otherwise struggle to access them, these projects are all about making a positive difference to people’s lives. Prevention is certainly better than cure and through investing in our families and communities through projects such as these, we are not only helping to encourage our communities across West Suffolk to support each other, but we are also attempting to understand and get to the root causes of some of society’s biggest issues around care, support, mental health, and alcohol abuse, to name but a few.”

Forest Heath Cabinet will also receive recommendations for Community Chest funds to the following:

  • Our Special Friends – £3000 – To help isolated and vulnerable individuals benefit from animal companionship during illness, bereavement and other crises.
  • Suffolk West Citizens Advice(MoneySmart) – £27,167 – To help communicate changes in sources of help, provide money management to small groups, raise awareness of scams, save money on energy costs and promote understanding of safer methods of saving and lending.
  • Brandon Community Association – £7,000 – to help towards a minibus to service Brandon Day Centre and the community.
  • Epic Dads – £30,000 – to continue and expand support and skills services for fathers.
  • Sharing Parenting – £14,000 – to help provide outreach parenting services.
  • The Restoration Trust – £3,542 and £3,611 over two years for a music Appreciation Group for people with complex mental health needs
  • HomeStart Mid and West Suffolk – £9,600 – to help provide pre-school parenting support through the Birth and Beyond project.

In St Edmundsbury, the charity REACH Community Projects in Haverhill will be recommended to receive £10,000 a year for the next two years to support three key projects that they are delivering:

  • REACH Resource Centre – a drop-in centre open weekdays providing a warm welcome and practical support for people struggling with poverty, debt, family problems. The Resource Centre is based on the Clements housing estate. The Resource centre in the last year has had 2115 individual visits.
  • Haverhill Foodbank – providing emergency food parcels to families and individuals in need. In the last year REACH have supported 1273 individuals (357 children and 916 adults) living within Haverhill and surround rural areas of St Edmundsbury.
  • REACH Into the Community – Money Advice – Debt counselling, budgeting and money management support. We have recently began delivering this project to reach individuals and families when and where they need it. This project so far has supported 130 local people.

Relate meanwhile will be recommended for support to continue its family counselling bursary scheme across St Edmundsbury. Relate see couples, individuals, young people as well as children under 10 in their family counselling setting and saw an increase in demand for its services last year. If approved, the funding to Relate will help allow them to offer their services to all people regardless of their ability to pay.

Working with young people, individuals, couples and families, Relate support them to make positive choices to improve the quality of their family relationships and stability, including:

  • tackling domestic violence and encouraging safe communication for emotional as well as physical safety.
  • building strengths, identity, esteem and self-worth
  • contextualising relationships and the connections that exist between people and the wider community
  • building confidence and encouraging people’s ability and capacity to demonstrate power to change their lives for the better.

Cllr Robert Everitt, Cabinet Member for Families and Communities at St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “The importance of supporting families through difficult times cannot be overestimated. Whether it is caring for someone with a long term health condition, supporting family members with terminal illnesses or helping people when challenges arise, I believe that the projects and services we help to fund really make a positive difference to people’s lives. At the other end of the spectrum, I am recommending Cabinet to approve investing in projects to offer opportunities for young people and those living in potentially isolated rural areas through projects such as Haverhill Community Trust’s activities for young people, Sporting 87’s Football Development Officer opportunities and the Suffolk Cinema Network.”

St Edmundsbury Cabinet will also receive recommendations for Community Chest funds to the following:

  • HomeStart Mid and West Suffolk – £10,000 for two years – to help deliver home visits, groups and resources to support parents.
  • St Nicholas Hospice Care – £32,595 over two years – to provide ‘Open House’ outreach support and introduction to hospice services in Bury St Edmunds, Barrow and Haverhill.
  • Suffolk Family Carers – £10,000 – to help provide carer support and training programmes.
  • Mentis Tree CIC – £9,000 – to support Acorn Counselling Service free sessions
  • Anglia Care Trust – £5,000 – to help provide an alcohol recovery service.
  • Our Special Friends – £6000 for two years – Help isolated and vulnerable individuals benefit from animal companionship during illness, bereavement and other crises.
  • Suffolk West Citizens Advice Bureau (Operations) – £182,000 for two years – to support the provision of free information, advice and advocacy to all members of the local community.

Applicants will be formally notified of the outcome of their applications following the Cabinet meetings on 5 December for St Edmundsbury and 12 December for Forest Heath.