Lowestoft and Leiston to continue receiving partnership scheme funding, with more towns and villages to benefit too
A fresh funding commitment for partnership schemes in Leiston and Lowestoft has been made by East Suffolk Council - and more towns and villages across the district will benefit from funding plans, the authority says.
East Suffolk Council's cabinet on Tuesday night agreed to continue funding £20,000 per year over the next three years for Lowestoft Rising, and extending Leiston Together cash until December 2022.
Those projects are partnership schemes with other organisations such as town councils and police to deliver social and economic benefits against key criteria.
In addition, £421,000 over two years has been pledged to form a team of 'change managers' which will help spread the benefits to wider market towns and villages across East Suffolk on short or medium term economic or community projects to boost those communities.
Conservative council leader Steve Gallant said: "These place-based initiatives have been fantastic and continue to deliver.
"What would worry me if we just continued with our model at the moment is 'what about the other towns, don't they deserve some of this?'
"By bringing in the change managers that have a wider remit, we have that ability to flex the team.
"We have learned a lot of really good lessons and now we need to flex this and make sure the whole of the district benefits."
Two change managers will begin work from January 2022 for two years, with a third recruited for one year from January 2023.
Support for Lowestoft Rising, Leiston Together and Felixstowe Forward - the latter of which is not attracting continued funding as the plan is for it to evolve into a new priority organisation for the town - has been to work on specific challenges like social deprivation and economic hardship.
Lowestoft Rising, which formed in 2015 with funding also from Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, Suffolk Constabulary, Suffolk County Council and Lowestoft Town Council, has attracted more than £2.8million of investment to the town, and delivered key projects like the First Light Festival, a community pantry and rough sleeping reduction work.
Leiston Together meanwhile has a series of priorities ongoing around tourism, digital upgrades, business and environment.
Projects include plans to fill vacant town centre units, launching the Sizewell parkrun, hosting a business fair, producing pocket guides for the town and supporting a good neighbour scheme.
Councillor Letitia Smith, cabinet member for communities, leisure and tourism, said Leiston Together projects had been "hugely beneficial to the communities around Leiston," while Lowestoft Rising had seen "huge pride going back into these communities and had such a positive impact on wellbeing".