Locality Budgets

Each year I have the great pleasure to be able to help support various projects and community groups across Row Heath with my Suffolk County Council Locality Budget and in Lakenheath village with my Forest Heath District Council budget.

With both I try to work with community groups to build the capacity of our communities to get things done for themselves and support the network of groups who great volunteers’ commitment significant time to make them a success.

Wherever I go and whenever I speak about Local Government I speak of the great community sprint that existing in my Division and my home village, and how this impacts the lives of residents as much formal services provided by Councils.

For me this is more than just words, as I have in the past sat on the Think Local Act Personal National Board and represented Local Government on its Building Community Capacity Subgroup, which worked to share what community capacity is all about and how to enhance it.  I instigated the Suffolk County Council programme called Supporting Lives and Connecting Communities which at its heart is about understanding how communities are able to do things for themselves and how SCC can support them better. Councillor locality budgets should be a integral part of that stratergy and I work for mine to be.

Here is a list of those groups I have supported in the past year.  In the majority of cases my locality funding has been matched funding with the groups own fund raising efforts.

Current commitments:

  • Lakenheath Parish Council – matched funding for Speed Indicator device – £1,890.00
  • Cavenham Parish Committee – Post for play equipment – £320.00

In the past year I have been able to provide funding to the following groups:

  • Friends of Lakenheath Library – Let’s Read Campaign – purchase of IT equipment – £247.50
  • Lakenheath Community Speedwatch – Purchase of speedwatch equipment – £400.00
  • Lakenheath Silver Band – Community Event – £350.00
  • Brendan Fulham Centre – Assistance with disabled adaptations – £1,300.00
  • Lakenheath Sunshine Corner – Toy Bank – £300.00
  • West Row School PFA – Folding tables, cool boxes, etc for garden party event -£250.00
  • Bury St. Edmunds Scout District – Scoutfest 2016 – £2,000.00
  • West Row Primary School PFA – Static bus to be used as a library and learning resource by the school and community (Committed 2015-2016) – £5,000.00
  • West Row The Shed Wellbeing project – £350.00.00
  • Cancer Campaign in Suffolk – Sun Awareness Programme for Schools – £1,280.00
  • West Row Village Hall & Playing Fields Association – Renovation of the Tennis courts – £3,000.00
  • Lakenheath Angling Club – Otter-proof fencing around club waters – £1,000.00
  • Lakenheath Cricket Club – Contribution to new Roller – £1,500.00
  • Rural Coffee Caravan – Contribution to new Vehicle – £1,000.00
  • Beck Row Methodist Church contribution towards heating in the Church Hall – £500.00
  • West Row Village Hall and Playing Field Association a contribution towards the new kitchen equipment – £2,000.00
  • Beck Row Parish Council with a contribution towards outdoor exercise equipment – £2,000.00
  • Friends of Beck Row Primary School with a contribution towards outdoor playground equipment – £4,500.00
  • Newmarket Town Band contribution towards charity concert – £200.00

Community Spirit defined

Much is written about the ‘Big Society’ and to a lesser extent the initiative in Suffolk called Supporting Lives, Connecting Communities (SLCC), which I politically started about how to replica those pockets of great community activity we find across the county and dovetailing county social services in and around our communities. In essence it’s all about understanding what any one community really needs rather than a universal blanket service which inevitably will diminish as the cuts in spending required to put this county on a sound economic basis bit. The last comment is a change from its original intention as the SLCC programme was always designed to help deal with our increasingly ageing population rather than to make savings but such. It will be interesting to see if the early savings from the intense pilot work actually can continue to save money and contribute towards the saving targets at Suffolk County Council in the way they are now required to do, I have my doubts.

More locally in my home village of Lakenheath I have a reasonable understanding of its community eco-system and last Saturday and then on Monday evening there were fine examples of what makes Lakenheath such a great place to live and an honour for me to represent.

On Saturday, the community, led by some very hard working activists, staged the village Carnival and fete. As I stood with a retired ‘brickie’ who used to work with me, I said to him it certainly comes in handy that we are a farming community and have so many tractors and flatbed trailers donated by local farmers, on which to mounted some really great floats. People turned out in their thousands and a great day was had by all, the forecasted rain even held off. On Monday evening and equally impressive was the turn out at the village War Memorial for a simply ceremony of lighting candles, placing them on the memorial and then the Roll of Honour of those from the village who died in the First World War was read out followed by a minute’s silence before all the candles bar one were extinguished at 10pm to mark the start of the First World War. What was particularly memorable was the number of children who attended and placed their candles at the base of the Memorial, the sight of it lit by candle light was a small act in remembrance of those who gave their lives.

In these two events one great fun, the other reflective, friends gathered, conversations were had and moments shared and these simply things are an integral part of how people and communities support each other.


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