The Communities Team has been enlarged to provide support to the groups of volunteers in our towns and villages who are working so well in provide local help to the vulnerable and self-isolating. The two districts have been split into ten areas, each with a lead locality officer together with assistance from seconded staff. The team is organised into giving seven days a week cover, ensuring that all referrals are dealt with promptly and professionally. Each town and village has responded tremendously, in their own unique fashion they have found and organised the volunteers and pinpointed where the vulnerable are and what needs they have. The Communities team feel honoured to work with a group of people who are working so well together to help others less fortunate. Just supporting them, and ensuring no-one misses out, is a key role.
To help with this, our grants team have devised an easy to fill out application form, called the Covid-19 Emerging Needs Grant, to enable any not-for-profit organisations in the districts to apply for up to £2,500 to help them to continue to operate until the lockdown restrictions are lifted. This small fund complements the wonderful grant work being carried out by the Suffolk Community Foundation.
There are other national funders who are offering grants at this time, notably the National Lottery, the Sports Council and the Arts Council.
Babergh and Mid Suffolk are two district councils working together.
The Communities Team is based in Endeavour House, 8, Russell Road, Ipswich IP1 2BX and I am the External Funding Officer.
Last financial year we assisted over £896,000 of external funding being secured in our two districts.
My role is to help and support not-for-profit organisations in the two districts to find the funding they need for their projects. Once they have started to fill forms in, I can then provide help on the phone and via email, since I am not allowed to actually write bids. I also review applications before they are submitted to help improve the quality of submissions. In this way the hope is that we give those volunteers with roles in not-for-profit groups the skills so that they can then feel more confident to apply for funding in the future.