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Home > Features > Our pledge to support communities in Babergh and Mid Suffolk

Our pledge to support communities in Babergh and Mid Suffolk

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are liaising with partners across Suffolk to respond to an increased demand for community support during the COVID-19 crisis.

Communities Officers will be contacting every voluntary and community sector group we work with to establish if it’s viable for them to continue to operate, and if so in what capacity. For those groups who sadly have no option but to cease operating, we will ascertain future plans and assist with providing support.

We will help volunteers, particularly those in the at-risk groups, adhere to guidance from Age UK and Community Action Suffolk - only carrying out volunteering duties if it is safe for them and the public to do so.

Enabling the delivery of a joined up beneficial approach for our communities remains a priority, so we will work with partners such as town and parish councils and partners in the voluntary sector to achieve this. We are currently working with partners across Suffolk on making an online platform available to help coordinate volunteers and support for the vulnerable as part of the emerging community response.

The financial measures that we will be implementing to ensure our communities thrive include:

  • Create a new light touch grant scheme, with over £80,000 available through grants of up to £2,500, that community organisations can access to help support programmes and activities to support the vulnerable and mitigate the impacts of COVID 19.
  • From this budget, £3,000 will be provided by each district, to offer immediate support for foodbanks operating in Babergh and Mid Suffolk. There is scope for further funding to be made available to foodbanks in response to emerging needs, which would have a similar application process to the existing Emerging Needs grant.
  • Regularly funded bodies, such as the Citizens Advice, will receive any pre-agreed revenue funding from 1 April. There may also be flexibility in how this is paid, with groups potentially opting to receive a single payment at the beginning of the year, rather than the usual practice to pay in staged payments, should this be more beneficial.
  • We will relax Councillors’ Locality Award funding criteria for 2020/21, including bringing forward the start date from June 2020 to April 2020. Any underspend in this year’s Locality Awards budget will be carried over for members to spend in their wards.

We are committed to empowering our communities in Babergh and Mid Suffolk to remain resilient during this difficult time and will continue to update information as and when it becomes available.