We interact with our community every day.
As well as meeting with local charities and community groups, visiting them on site, discussing their work and ongoing needs and seeing their programmes in action, we are actively involved in the larger philanthropic world. We meet with key individuals and opinion formers in the charitable sector to keep up to date with the latest thinking and research.
Working with others who share our concerns, our enthusiasm and our desire to do something about it gives the Foundation the knowledge and perspective to focus on our community’s greatest needs. We believe this collaborative approach to our work with communities is the key to achieving results.
Below are just some of the local organisations we have helped.
For 20 years, Upbeat Heart Support has been providing exercise classes, social, and health educational activities to ex-cardiac patients in Suffolk. There are two vital elements to this charity, the medical side where everyone has their blood pressure checked by a cardiac nurse before they join in the special exercise class designed and run by instructors who are members of the British Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation. The other element is the social side, where members are able to talk with others in the same situation. A number of sessions are held weekly in Bury St. Edmunds and Sudbury. Our grant is towards core costs associated with the delivery of these exercise classes; encouraging and supporting patients and importantly their carers, to get back to leading as normal life as possible.
In 2008 a team of dedicated volunteers from the local community worked with Suffolk County Council on the Lottery Funded project to re-build the library in Gainsborough, a deprived area of Ipswich. An award-winning community library replaced an existing facility. The intention was for the library to act as a catalyst to raise the aspirations of local residents.
The volunteer group, Voices for Gainsborough Community Library, encourage usage of the library, help support activities within the library setting, and bring it into the community. It is the hard work of the volunteers that keep the library going - arranging fundraising events and applying for grants.
In April 2015, Voices for Gainsborough Community Library received £1,000 from the Suffolk Giving Fund towards the cost of a summer arts project. Ten young people took park in the month long project during the summer holidays. Initially the young people travelled to London to visit the Tate Modern, which for many of them was their first visit to a contemporary gallery. After a day exploring the artwork, each young person chose a piece, which they related to, to recreate with their own interpretation during the following weeks.
The project enabled the young people to grow in confidence. An exhibition was held at the end to showcase their work and be a celebration of success, in turn helping to raise the aspirations and expectations from the young people themselves.
"I found the art project intriguing, we learnt basic skills from still life to abstract. My favourite thing about art is that there are so many ways to express how you feel in an artistic manor. Also by completing the art project we are able to submit work for an arts council arts award, which comes with UCAS points, something which is very beneficial to me." Shona, a young person who completed the course
Working with people with disabilities to provide services and representing their interests for over thirty years, Avenues East was awarded a grant from Suffolk County Council’s Transforming Suffolk Fund towards the Supported Volunteering and Work Experience Project. This was a pilot project aimed at supporting young people with disabilities aged 16 to 25 years to access employment through voluntary placements and work experience opportunities.
The project provides support to young people during the transitional period after finishing their education, enabling them to gain transferable skills and increase their confidence and independence. Training sessions including money handling, customer service and timekeeping are provided along with volunteering and work experience opportunities organised by local organisations. Participating organisations also receive disability awareness training from the young people involved in the project.
The success of the pilot project has enabled Avenues East to secure £155,781 (over three years) from the Big Lottery Fund. This funding will allow the project to run full-time and provide the required services to young people with disabilities across Suffolk including Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft, Haverhill, Stowmarket, Sudbury and surrounding areas.
DIAL Lowestoft and Waveney, established in 1986, provide free, impartial and confidential information, advice, advocacy and representation service. Their service is offered to people with disabilities, their carers and professionals working with them, to help them overcome day to day problems of disability. Their assistance ranges from information on equipment, housing, employment, holidays, benefits and support groups. In addition they assist with form filling and representation at appeal tribunals.
Based in Lowestoft, the charity has an office where clients can drop-in for support or can call their helpline. Outreach sessions are provided on a regular basis in the more rural areas which include GP surgeries in Bungay, Halesworth, Kessingland; CAB office in Beccles; and the JobCentre in Lowestoft and Beccles.
Managed by Suffolk Community Foundation, the Catalyst Fund awarded £2,000 to D.I.A.L. towards salary costs of an advisor who supports people with disabilities and their carers. Julie Fulbrook, Manager at DIAL, explained the difference the grant has made: “This funding has enabled DIAL to retain our much valued member of staff. Following her transition from volunteer to a paid member of staff, we have seen her confidence, knowledge and passion for learning grow tremendously and we could not have helped as many people with disabilities as we have done without this grant.”
Eastgate Amateur Boxing Club in Rougham, Bury St Edmunds is a community organisation which supports local people from all walks of life in the practice and teaching of amateur boxing.
Along with a team of dedicated volunteers, Mick Bryant has been running the Club for 30 years. The Club seeks to build community spirit, provide members with a sense of identity and encourage the health and wellbeing of young people.
The Club received a grant of £4,300 from the Transforming Suffolk Fund - a fund managed by Suffolk Community Foundation towards the purchase of suitable equipment and expanding the club's area to cope with increased numbers of young people attending the gym. With this grant, the club is now able to provide a safe environment for children to train and cater for the influx of those coming forward to join.
For Sudbury based charity the Eden’s Project, supporting all young people is at the heart of what they do. Through EPic, the youthwork part of the charity, a safe and enjoyable weekly youth club is available in Sudbury, Great Cornard and Glemsford. The youthworkers offer a range of support services to meet the needs of the young people, including personal support, mentoring, training and development, work-experience and volunteering.
The Suffolk Giving Fund awarded a grant of £1,984 towards the EPic e-Safety project to help young people be aware of their personal safety online. Eden's Project recognised that it is important for young people to learn how to use the internet safely and to be aware of the risks involved when using the internet.
Felixstowe Area Community Transport operates a friendly community transport facility to support those who are unable to access transport in and around Felixstowe. Supporting over 450 people every month, the Dial-a-Ride service provides a vital link for many vulnerable people, helping to reduce the risk of acute isolation, a loss of independence and loneliness. The Dial-a-Ride service is fully equipped with trained volunteers and a wheelchair lift, making it accessible to people with disabilities or impaired mobility.
The Port Community Fund supported this transport scheme with a £2,000 grant towards the cost of expanding the service to reach local villages, including Kirton, Falkenham, Bucklesham, Nacton and Levington. The growth of this vital service in the surrounding villages will ensure that those without access to transport are still able to visit Felixstowe for everyday activities, including shopping, social activities and health check-ups.
Focus12, based in Bury St Edmunds, provides abstinence-based, residential day care and ancillary services for people primarily with alcohol and drug dependency issues and associated conditions. One of their projects is The Annexe, a counselling and training service offering specialist counselling for those with substance misuse issues as well as anyone who requires counselling for what maybe non related issues such as domestic violence, post-traumatic stress, depression, or issues related to sexual abuse.
Focus12 received a grant of £1,000 from the Shadwell Fund towards the costs of providing specialist counselling to clients who are experiencing current or past substance misuse problems. The West Suffolk Probation Service identified a need for these clients to both address and or continue to address the issues that contributed to or triggered the clients’ misuse of substances.
Gatehouse Caring in West Suffolk provides material, emotional and practical help to those in need in the local area. Among their services is the Memory Café in Bury St Edmunds - a safe, comfortable and supportive meeting place for people with the early stages of dementia or memory loss.
With a range of engaging activities on offer, the Memory Café gives both carers and people with dementia a chance to get information, advice and talk to others in similar situations. The Café has regular speakers on well-being and dementia related topics. The staff are specialists and are supported by local volunteers; this weekly social group improves well-being and reduce isolation for whole families.
A £5,000 grant from the Transforming Suffolk Fund will ensure that the Memory Café can continue with their vital work in West Suffolk, providing support, advice and meaningful activities to people with memory loss and their carers/supporters.
Got to Read is an Ipswich based charity which enables individuals and communities to share and enjoy reading. It provides training and support to volunteers who have a love of reading and want to share that with people who want to increase their confidence in reading, writing and speaking. Volunteers give one-to-one support to help someone with their own personal reading goals, whether that is building on what they can do already, or starting right from the beginning. The Evdemonia Fund, a family fund managed by the Foundation, awarded a grant of £800 towards core costs, enabling the charity to assist people with literacy challenges.
The Haverhill Stroke Support Group is a small, grassroots group attended by people who have suffered and survived strokes. It allows survivors to socialise with others who have shared their experience, listen to speakers and take part in a range of activities.
The Group received a donation of £1,000 from the Suffolk Giving Fund, which supports a broad range of activities across the county. The funding will go towards providing a range of activities to develop the stroke support group including gentle exercises classes to those that attend giving great benefits, both physical and emotional.
Sports projects are not just about engaging people in physical activity. They offer the opportunity to be part of a team, to engage with others and to feel a sense of achievement. This is especially vital for vulnerable groups within the community, who may sometimes feel isolated or may have requirements not normally facilitated by traditional sports teams. Participating in sport is a fantastic way to meet new people, improve health and gain confidence, with many community sports groups providing excellent opportunities for those who may not normally have access to these benefits.
Inspired by the Olympic Games, the Ipswich Handball Club was launched in January 2013. Handball is one of the most popular sports in Europe, second only to football for men but number one for women. Since the Olympic Games the sport has been increasing in popularity at a staggering rate and is now the fast growing sport in the UK.
Using head coach and local Olympian Louise Jukes, the club attracted over 70 people to the launch session and after a successful 6 week programme under Sportivate the club became affiliated to England Handball with weekly training and friendly matches.
In June 2013, the Club received a grant of £4,000 towards the purchase of equipment for the youth club and to train members to promote the sport in schools. During the past year, the club has grown from strength to strength. By upskilling a number of coaches and delivering taster sessions in local schools, the club’s membership has expanded and they now have a robust youth programme, with up to 35 young people attending on a weekly basis.
The club has inspired people to become more active and in turn they have encouraged their peers to join them. As an opportunity, sporting activity is something that people can really engage with in their community, leading to more social integration as well as individual well-being.
Launched as a pilot in 2011, the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter is the Church’s response to the problem of homelessness in Ipswich. It follows the model which runs across many London boroughs and other parts of the country, relying on an amazing army of volunteers. For the three coldest months of the year (December, January, February), churches across the town work together to provide shelter, welcome and hospitality every night for up to 12 people referred to the project who have nowhere else to stay. Restricted by the number of nights that a church can offer shelter, seven churches open their doors for one night a week each for thirteen weeks offering a co-ordinated service to those most in need.
During the winter of 2011/2012, the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter accommodated over 37 guests at different times. Over 1,000 meals were served by over 300 volunteers. Delivering this shelter is an enormous logistical exercise and is only made possible through the support of local people offering their time and compassion to others during a time of increased vulnerability. At each meal time, the volunteers sit and eat with the guests, which is a central part of the hospitality. Through these social times, relationships are established and support can be offered appropriate to each individual’s needs.
In recognition of the dedication and outstanding work of all those involved, the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter was a winner of the Improve and Prove Awards, a special award scheme funded by Suffolk County Council to recognise fantastic community achievement. The award of £10,000 enabled the Night Shelter to open again during the winter of 2012/2013.
Those who find themselves homeless often have a number of complex needs. At the simplest end are relationship problems, debt and unemployment through to more complex issues such as mental health issues, problems of addiction to substances or gambling, personality disorders and criminality. The homeless are often thought to be those who sleep rough, however there is a far greater number who have no place of their own who are known as ‘sofa surfers’ who often spend time rough sleeping until they can find another bed, couch or floor in a friend’s or relative’s home. They find it hard to find employment, access services, and break out of the homeless trap. The homeless community can easily encourage them into substance abuse as a way of escaping what can seem to be the emptiness of life.
Despite there being more beds available through other service providers, the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter ran to full capacity again in 2012. This year saw shelter provided to 42 homeless people during the winter, and unfortunately once again many others were turned away. The volunteers work hard during the period the Night Shelter is open to try and find more sustainable accommodation for the guests. “We work with the agencies already working in the town to encourage the guests to receive help and advice to restore their lives, find long-term accommodation, regain self-esteem and dignity, and return to society as an equal. The overnight shelter is not an on call hostel but part of a programme of restoration to bring structure back into chaotic lives. Our priority is to move people on to a better situation than when they came in – whatever that might be,” explains The Rev Canon Paul Daltry, Minister for Church and Community Engagement in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. An indicator of the shelter’s positive influence can be seen in one guest whose life had been ruined by gambling. The shelter provided him with a safe place to regain control of his life. Following his stay during the first winter, he returned this year to volunteer and offer support to others as he had received.
Karibu provide information, advice, help, support, and counselling service to African and other minority ethnic women and their families in Ipswich and Suffolk in general. They run the following weekly sessions for women: ‘Me Time’ for Carers, beginners IT course, counselling services, exercise and dance sessions, sewing crafts and English communication skills. Karibu were awarded £1,000 from the Suffolk Giving Fund towards their running costs of continuing to support family carers in Black and Minority Ethnic communities, providing them with accessible information on the services available to them.
The Acorn Fund (supported by Pound Gates & Sevatas) awarded a grant of £1,000 Mid Suffolk Holiday Opportunity Play Scheme (HOPS), a charity which provides activity days for children and young people with disabilities and additional needs.
The funding will go towards transport costs to enable children and young people with disabilities to access activity days. The HOPS scheme provides transport to their rural location at Thorndon from pick up points in towns and villages within the area of benefit to enable the inclusion of all children and young people with disabilities.
The summer holidays are a long, unstructured break and many of the young people get confused and uninterested during this time. HOPS brings structure to those days, enabling carers to have a break from their caring responsibilities. The social inclusion of the children and young people within the activity days enables them to further develop communication and social skills needed for everyday life as well as boost their self-confidence and help them to try other activities and other social groups.
East of England charity Ormiston Families has been running a project in Ipswich which supports parents who have had children taken into care. Their Mpower project is an early intervention scheme that provides one-to-one, intensive support and guidance to women who continue to become pregnant despite having previous children removed. The human and financial costs of taking a child into care are substantial. It can be extremely distressing for both the child and parent and will have a lasting impact.
Senior Practioner at Ormiston Kym Hackett explains,
“The project is not about reuniting parents with their children. It is about empowering mothers to make the right decisions going forward. By working intensively with this small group of women we are able to offer them support and understanding to help them make sense of their situation. We help them to make positive changes in the way they live their lives. We examine why they decided to have more children despite the pain and trauma of having lost previous children to the care system. By building a trusting, empathic relationship with our service users, installing structure, and offering commitment, we are seeing positive results. We have had no unplanned pregnancies and engagement rates have been high.”
This project was a perfect match for the Rosa Giving Circle Fund, which supports projects working with women and girls in Suffolk. The giving circle members awarded £1,000 to the Mpower project, enabling the project to continue its work in breaking the cycle.
Sue Wright, Grants Officer visited the Rose and Sweet William Club in Leiston and here explains why it is a social lifeline for older people:
“Something pretty basic, you might think – ordinary even. And in one way you’d be right. But meeting the people who attend the Rose and Sweet William Club in Leiston gave me an insight into the fact that this is about much more than a hot meal. Men and women both highlighted that the weekly lunch club is about meeting friends, socialising and getting out of the house. The Club has been providing a lifeline for over 60 years to many who would otherwise be isolated in some way.
The need for such a club comes from the fact that Leiston is a very rural area with people living in the outer areas who may not be able to socialise as a result of poor transport services or no near neighbours or friends. The club provides an opportunity for social contact, helping to reduce isolation and preventing people from losing their independence.”
The Leiston and Sizewell Community Benefit Fund awarded £1,000 towards the costs of running the weekly lunch club including transport, which enables those members who have limited mobility to attend – this often being their only outing during the week.
Suffolk Artlink is a participatory arts charity delivering high quality creative activities to a range of people including young people, people with learning disabilities, children in hospitals and older people. Participation in creative activities acts as a positive way of improving health and wellbeing for disadvantaged people.
Suffolk Artlink received a grant of £1,910 from the Suffolk Giving Fund towards delivering two creative projects working with older people disadvantaged by rural isolation and health issues in Forest Heath.
Through the use of an inspirational dance film, two dance and movement workshops were delivered to a group of older people at Brandon Day Centre. Reminiscence techniques were used to awaken memories from the group; they then used these stories to inspire creative movement. The funding will also support the delivery of six creative sessions with a group of people with dementia and their family carers in Newmarket.
Suffolk Refugee Support has been running for 14 years, helping asylum seekers and refugees to rebuild their lives and to overcome the many challenges they face. Their clients come from over 40 countries and many have experienced extreme trauma in the form of torture, threats, violence and imprisonment in their home countries.
The charity helps around 800 individual asylum seekers and their families every year, with support including English classes and general advice on housing, work and accessing medical services. They run a drop-in Advice Service three times a week and weekly women’s and men’s befriending groups aimed at combating social isolation and educating refugees about life in the UK. Many refugees have families in the UK, so their work is also focused on helping children access good health and education. Funding received from a number of our donors, including the Esmée Fairbairn Suffolk Fund, the Henry Smith Charity and some smaller funds, supporting staff and operating costs to enable them to continue supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Suffolk.
Team Manager of Suffolk Refugee Support, Rebecca Crerar said:
“Our great pleasure is in seeing our clients grow as individuals, learning to look forward again with hope and to stand on their own two feet. On a daily basis our staff and volunteers help this to be achieved, often in very small but significant ways. None of this would be possible without the fantastic support of the Suffolk Community Foundation. Without it we would not be able to help those who find themselves in the UK, lost, afraid and lacking hope for the future.”
According to the Department of Health statistics, we know there will be many more people living with dementia in the future and that they will need a range of high quality services to support them to continue to live rich and fulfilling lives in the community. Feedback from people with dementia and their carers is they need more support after they have been diagnosed and while they continue to live in their own home. The Debenham Project is one example where the community is providing much needed support.
The Debenham Project provides practical and emotional support to carers of those with dementia, and those they care for, within the Debenham area. The £1,000 grant received from Sport Relief Community Cash will support operating costs to enable them to continue their services, helping reduce isolation and improve the general health and wellbeing of the family unit.
Unscene Suffolk is a community theatre project for adults with visual impairment. The company uses music, touch and imagination to produce work which is accessible to both blind and sighted audiences. As a devising company, it aims to involve participants in the whole creation of the show, not just as performers but as ideas-generators, giving them a sense of ownership over the work.
Following the success of the pilot project in 2013, a grant of £3,445 from the Transforming Suffolk Fund was awarded to Unscene Suffolk to support their weekly drama workshops for 15 adults with visual impairment as well as the production of their second theatre performance, Fossils at Ipswich Museum.
The workshops allowed participants to explore a range of theatre games and exercises, each week sharing work with the rest of the group, enabling confidence to grow. One participant explained that when the group formed in 2013, communication was limited but now everyone interacts, they have all become friends and socialise together – a real sense of community. He continued to add that “when you lose your sight, there is nothing, you feel very isolated.”
Wonderful Beast is a storytelling theatre company which dramatises myths, legends, folk and fairy tales for audiences of all ages. A major aim is to be inclusive in its outlook and practice, in particular to include children and young people in Leiston in its community based festivals of storytelling.
A grant of £1,200 from the Leiston and Sizewell Community Benefit Fund enabled Wonderful Beast to work in partnership with the Actability Inclusive Theatre Group to deliver ‘Tree Tales’ a project which involved Year 6 pupils working alongside a cast of actors, including those with disabilities on an interactive performance inspired by tales from around the world.
Speaking about the project, Andrew Chivers, Deputy Head of Leiston Primary school says “Actability has given fantastic opportunities to the Year 6 pupils to engage in drama, dance, puppetry and music making and to work as teams, to build and support self-esteem, collaboration and self-confidence.”
Fresh Start - new beginnings provides a therapeutic service for children and young people up to 18 years who have reported being sexually abused and to offer support for their families. The charity received a grant from the Suffolk Giving Fund towards supporting children and young people in the district of Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury.
Diana Porter, Chief Executive of Fresh Start-new beginnings explains:
“One young boy we are working with had only recently disclosed sexual abuse that had been going on for three years and came to light when he started to self- injure. His parents were at a loss to understand why he was harming himself and how they could help their son. This grant allowed us to see this young boy weekly for much needed therapy sessions and also to have someone else working with the parents helping them to understand their son’s behaviour and the best way to support him. Without this grant this young boy would have remained on the waiting list with his self -injuring escalating.”
On the outskirts of Saxmundham sits a warm and friendly log cabin, the home of Supported Activities for Everyone (S.A.F.E). Although a place that isn’t easily visible from the road, the joy and laughter emanating from the building is a clear sign that it truly is a place that is living up to its name. S.A.F.E. provides an array of activities such as arts and crafts, gardening, exercise and music to promote social interactions for adults with learning disabilities.The charity enables people to live full and active lives and to be part of their local community.
In 2013 the charity opened the Pear Tree Café, a bustling community minded café serving tea, coffee, cakes and light lunches. But it’s much more than a café: it’s a community hub, providing invaluable opportunities for local people. The café is run by adults with learning disabilities who are supported by qualified staff and volunteers. It is a safe and supported place where people can gain customer service skills, food service and food hygiene skills. It also provides them with an opportunity to interact with members of their local community and build confidence.
The grant that S.A.F.E received from Suffolk County Council’s Transforming Suffolk Fund enabled this project to become a reality. The grant they received enabled the café to get started; some of the money went towards their operational costs such as heating and lighting. But the majority enabled them to provide food and hygiene training to people with learning disabilities and create some marketing materials.
“We wanted to create a place which not only serves delicious food and coffee in a fun and welcoming atmosphere but also somewhere which creates training and work experience for people, allowing them to feel more involved with the community. The cafe is about promoting social inclusion, giving people a sense of worth and a feeling that they are part of a valued and supported community. It’s also a way to increase the public’s awareness of learning difficulties and to encourage the local community to work alongside us and help us develop the project. We want Saxmundham to be a safe and inclusive community." James Perks, Founder
Set in the beautiful Suffolk countryside, the Shelley Centre for Therapeutic Riding provides a place for people with a disability to enjoy the benefits of horse riding in a fun, supportive environment.
Over the past year, the Shelley Centre has received three different grants through Suffolk Community Foundation, providing support for equipment and core costs. In particular, the AXA Insurance Fund awarded a grant of £1,532 towards the replacement of vital equipment, including: adjustable riding hats, saddles and therapy rollers for those who need additional support whilst riding.
Staff from Suffolk Community Foundation recently had the privilege of visiting the Shelley Centre, to see the project first hand. Emma Rawlingson, Grants and Donor Co-ordinator at the Foundation shares her experience:
“From the moment we walked through the gate I was blown away by the dedication and enthusiasm of everyone at the Centre, which soon became the hive of activity and excitement as riders with disabilities started arriving for their lessons. Supported by a huge team of volunteers, the Shelley Centre spreads infectious joy and enthusiasm among all those involved; it is a truly inspirational place. This special visit was an excellent reminder that on any given day there are a multitude of inspiring activities run by charities doing brilliant work all over Suffolk."
Where the mountains stop, the Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue (SULSAR) starts. This volunteer led responsive community service works alongside Suffolk Constabulary in searching for vulnerable missing people. The callouts are for the highest risk missing people who if left or not found in a timely manner are likely to come to harm or take their own life. The team are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
SULSA received a grant of just over £1,000 from the Suffolk Fund towards the purchase of two search mountain bikes and essential kit for their volunteer riders. This has enabled the organisation to improve their response time which is vital when they are searching for vulnerable missing people.
“The bikes are invaluable to us; we are now able to cover a larger area much more quickly, giving us a greater chance of finding the missing person unharmed and alive. The beauty with using bikes is speed. With cases such as searching for Alzheimer sufferers or lost children, speed is crucial.” Andy King, Search Planner for SULSAR
Search duration can vary considerably, ranging from a couple of hours to several days therefore having a pool of volunteers to call on at any given time is essential. Each volunteer, known as a member, can give what time they can on a rotating basis, allowing a search to continue as long as necessary. SULSAR have approximately 40 active members on the call out list, ranging from lorry drivers and warehouse personnel to accountants and paramedics. The training provided ensures that all members are all highly proficient in map reading and have excellent leadership skills.
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© Suffolk Community Foundation 2013 - 2017
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Charity Number 1109453. Suffolk Community Foundation is a member of the UK Community Foundations.
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