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Saturday, 23 October 2021
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Suffolk-wide scheme to get community groups back to their best

THIS week, hundreds of Suffolk based clubs, groups, sports centres, wellbeing health, meet-ups and community buildings are to be given a helping hand in getting ‘back to their best’ as part of a county-wide restart initiative.

The Collaborative Communities Board has commissioned Community Action Suffolk to manage the vital support project – working in partnership with SCC and all Suffolk District and Borough Councils – which will see organisations ready to ‘reopen’ in line with government recommendations, at the next step of the roadmap, on May 17th.

From 5th May, leaders of all voluntary sector and community-based projects, clubs, groups and initiatives can book on to an on-demand training course which is being run in partnership with health and safety specialist, Right Directions.

The courses will provide organisations with a clear understanding of the expectations, changes and protocols that are now in place as part of the national unlocking.

Community Action Suffolk’s ‘Community Restart’ programme of work will also see dedicated Community Restart Officers available to provide information, advice and guidance. This specialist team will support organisations to adapt and deliver their services in new ways.

Throughout the pandemic, Community Action Suffolk has been surveying the voluntary sector and recognises that many smaller groups and organisations are concerned about the added demands of reopening under new regulations, but are extremely aware of the vital role they play in terms of the health and social opportunities of the community.

Chris Abraham, CEO of Community Action Suffolk, said:

“COVID has further amplified the important role that voluntary and community groups play in keeping people well and reducing health inequalities.

“Since March 2020 we have all experienced restrictions to varying degrees, and the devastating impact lockdowns have had on some of our most vulnerable communities is yet to be fully realised. 

“The Suffolk Community Restart programme is therefore vital in ensuring we can quickly and successfully get those lifeline groups, events and projects back up and running in a safe way, so that they can resume doing their work in supporting mental and physical health, and increasing social connectivity.”

A dedicated fund has been created for the ‘Suffolk Community Restart’ initiative, allowing organisers of clubs, groups, venues and schemes to not only access Covid Restart training and workshops but also to apply for grants of between £250 and £2,500.

Grant funding must be used specifically to help get activities up and running in a Covid-safe way – perhaps for purchasing PPE, creating new signage, or introducing new cleaning regimes.

Applications for the Suffolk Community Grants are open from today – 28 April – and Covid Restart training and workshops commence from 4th May.

You can apply for grants by filling in the Community Restart application form at: www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk. 

Applicants have the opportunity to book and attend a funding surgery or attend a workshop through Community Action Suffolk. Application outcomes will be confirmed within 10 days.

Chrissie Geeson, Chair of the Collaborative Communities Board said:

We are so pleased to be able to provide the Community Restart funding for voluntary and community groups.

“Now, more than ever is it so important to connect communities and to help reduce isolation for all ages.”

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