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Mid Suffolk District Council's pledge of £5.1million to 'support district to thrive' after Covid allocated to dozens of community projects

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An investment pledge of £5.1million has been allocated by Mid Suffolk District Council to help boost communities and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council’s cabinet on Monday morning allocated the seven-figure sum announced in February to priority areas around communities, environment, economy, customers, housing and wellbeing, following a series of cross-party task groups to discuss areas in need of support.

The fund allocations are split across 39 projects.

Endeavour House in Ipswich, where Mid Suffolk Council is based
Endeavour House in Ipswich, where Mid Suffolk Council is based

Among the headline schemes are:

  • £75,000 – Support for domestic abuse victims, including security measures like alarms and stronger locks
  • £300,000 – Loan fund for Community Land Trusts to obtain deposits for mortgages
  • £100,000 – Targeted apprenticeship scheme for those at risk of homelessness
  • £100,000 – Increased aspirations for young people, including youth market stalls and youth social prescribing
  • £100,000 – Business case for a skills and innovation centre at Gateway 14
  • £100,000 – Supporting a sustainable travel plan
  • £100,000 – Supporting town centre visions for Stowmarket, Needham Market and Eye
  • £100,000 – Covid recovery grants for community groups
  • £38,000 – Expanding Active Schools Programme to tackle obesity in schools
  • £30,000 – Continuation of school holiday activity programmes

The cash has been banked from reserves which the Conservative and Independent administration said it could now use to invest in post-Covid recovery.

Conservative leader Suzie Morley said: “I am delighted to present these proposals for just over £5m worth of investment to support our district to thrive over the next few years, and to recover from the impacts of the Covid pandemic.

Suzie Morley, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council. Picture by Paul Nixon
Suzie Morley, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council. Picture by Paul Nixon

“I am very proud of the proposals I am setting out today, and I believe they will make a huge difference to our local communities.

“Make no mistake, we will see far better outcomes for both businesses and people as a result.”

Keith Welham from the opposition Green and Liberal Democrat group said it was ‘a brilliant idea that we should spend some of this money instead of keeping this in jam jars’, although group deputy leader John Field questioned whether fewer projects with larger settlements would yield more results.

Time scales for the projects will vary, with work finalising the details of the programmes now set to take place.

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