Projects tackling domestic abuse, fighting rural isolation, supporting families and helping dementia suffers and carers will receive Community Chest funding from West Suffolk’s councils.
Forest Heath District and St Edmundsbury Borough Councils have announced more than £340,000 of new grants to 17 projects for 2017/18 with the focus on helping families and communities to become more resilient, stronger and caring for each other.
Bury St Edmunds charity Gatehouse Caring in East Anglia has been awarded £10,000 from St Edmundsbury’s Community Chest itowards the development of its dementia hub to provide support lunch clubs, music therapy, exercise classes, chiropody services and carer support groups.
HomeStart has been awarded grants for several projects including £7,454 for its Coupals Court project to help struggling families in Haverhill. The project looks to recruit and train volunteers to visit families at home to discuss whatever issues may be affecting them from post-natal illnesses, through to the demands of parenting young children, multiple births, bereavement and mental health issues.
Cllr Robert Everitt, cabinet member for families and communities at St Edmundsbury said: “The increase in people suffering from dementia and how we support them and their loved ones, who often provide their day to day care, is a challenge. I believe that it will be innovations such as the dementia hub that will make a positive difference to people’s lives.
“At the other end of the spectrum is HomeStart. Unhappy, dysfunctional families make for unhappy children which can become a bit of a cycle. HomeStart relies on volunteers who have lived parenting, made the mistakes and survived, who are willing to draw on their own experiences and help those families out of a state of crisis.”
St Edmundsbury has also given Community Chest funds to:
*Millennium Farm Trust – £10,000 , to help people with learning disabilities, acquired brain injury or mental health with structured activities at Rookery Farm in Debden
*Upbeat Heart Support – £7,875 towards the cost of a cardiac nurse to support and advise people following a cardiac incident.
*Suffolk Cruse Bereavement Care – £9,458 for volunteer expenses travelling to clients in their homes.
*Survivors in Transition – £11,560 for one-to-one and group therapeutic services for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
*Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid Centre - £5,400 for ‘Stronger Families’, a 12-week therapeutic programme for children and mothers who are victims of domestic abuse.
*HomeStart (Mildenhall Road Estate) – £10,767 towards running a weekly drop in family group at on Bury’s Mildenhall Estate.
*HomeStart (Acorn House) – £7,454 – for six weeks support to young parents leaving Acorn House
*Our Special Friends – £6,000 to help isolated and vulnerable individuals benefit from animal companionship.
*Suffolk West Citizens Advice Bureau (Operations) – £182,000 to support the provision of free information, advice and advocacy to the community.
Among the grants awarded in Forest Heath is £3,700 to Alumah, for a project which recognises the long term damage domestic abuse can have on children, with some then growing up thinking it is normal behaviour. The organisation offers a safe place for victims of domestic abuse, education and aftercare, plus runs a SHINE group which reinforces women’s sense of worth.
Forest Heath has also pledged more than £30,000 for the next three years to The Volunteer Network in Newmarket which is looking to further expand its team of volunteers who provide one-to-one support to people who would be isolated and will help them get to day centres or other social groups.
Cllr Robin Millar, Forest Heath’s cabinet member for families and communities said: “If we can build more fences at the top of the cliff it means fewer ambulances are needed at the bottom.
“By working in partnership with others we are addressing issues at an early stage before they become bigger societal problems.”
Forest Heath has also given Community Chest funds to the following:
*Arts For Us – £9,520 for school holiday recreational, educational and sporting activities for children.
*Fresh Start: New Beginnings – £10,000 for therapy interventions for child sex abuse victims and their families.
*Our Special Friends – £6,000 see above.
*Rural Coffee Caravan – £3,210 to combat rural isolation and loneliness by providing events that will bring people together in six villages lacking amenities.
*Suffolk West Citizens Advice Bureau (MoneySmart) – £27,192 .
*Unit Twenty Three – £5,000 for the Freefall play to lift the profile of young carers.