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Risby community group EPIC Dad set to reopen its hub after receiving grant from Suffolk Community Restart Fund

A group set up to encourage and support fathers, father figures and families is to welcome back its members for the first time since the first lockdown thanks to a voluntary sector grant.

With Father's Day approaching this Sunday, EPIC Dad now has the money to be able to reopen its EPIC Centre Fatherhood Hub in Newmarket Road, Risby.

The community interest company, whose letters stand for encourager, provider, instructor and carer, was forced to stop its in-person activities last March, although various online and outdoors sessions were organised, including its Wellbeing Walks.

Richard Keeble, EPIC Dad founder. Picture: Lexia Media.
Richard Keeble, EPIC Dad founder. Picture: Lexia Media.

The group also provides activities, general wellbeing support, parenting courses and drop-ins.

It has now secured a £2,500 grant from the Suffolk Community Restart Fund, and will be able to reopen at Newmarket Road.

Richard Keeble, founder, said: "This last year has been such a challenge for everyone and many dads have really felt the pressures at home during lockdown.

EPIC Dad hub in Newmarket Road, Risby. Picture: Lexia Media.
EPIC Dad hub in Newmarket Road, Risby. Picture: Lexia Media.

"We have been reaching out in new ways to bring wellbeing, parenting, and family support to fathers but have missed the in-person activities.

“We are very grateful for the support from the Suffolk Community Restart Fund which will help us to begin to offer some of our dads and children’s clubs again at the EPIC Centre and other locations.

"Also, we look forward to running more groups, courses, and events in the future which will help dads be even more ‘EPIC’ in the lives of their families.”

The Suffolk Community Restart project is led by Community Action Suffolk and is made possible through partnership working with Suffolk County Council, the Suffolk District and Borough Councils.

It enables eligible clubs, groups and initiatives to participate in on-demand training courses, learn more about required Covid-safe measures, and to apply for grant funding in order to get back up and running.

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.

“The Suffolk Community Restart project is therefore vital in ensuring we can quickly and successfully get those lifeline groups, events and projects – like those being led by EPIC Dad – 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.”

Chrissie Geeson, chair of the Collaborative Communities Board, set up by Suffolk County Council during coronavirus to support communities in the county, said: “We are so pleased to be able to provide the Suffolk 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.”

To find out more about the Suffolk Community Restart project details can be found on the Community Action Suffolk website: www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk or email vcsesupport@communityactionsuffolk.org.uk

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