Cllr TJ Haworth-Culf and Cllr Jocelyn Bond, local ward members for Aldeburgh and Leiston, have each donated £125 from their Enabling Communities Budget to enable the Snape Good Neighbourhood Scheme (SGNS) to purchase a new, lightweight wheelchair. Maria Norman, Chair of SGNS, said:
“We would like to thank Cllr Haworth-Culf and Cllr Bond for kindly donating the money from their Enabling Communities Budget to finance the wheelchair. Initially, the wheelchair will mainly be used by SGNS as we assist older residents to various appointments, such as hospital, doctors and COVID vaccinations.
“It will benefit the whole community as it also gives us the opportunity to easily take older residents out and about, whether to visit a friend or to simply enjoy the beautiful scenery of Snape, plus those wanting to attend Meet up Monday’s when they restart. We would also want to make it available to residents in the village if they needed to borrow it for specific occasions.”
SGNS ran its weekly ‘Meet up Mondays’ prior to the pandemic and they are hoping to be able to restart the events once restrictions are lifted. The coffee mornings attracted many older people who would otherwise rarely leave their homes. Once the events resume, volunteers will be able to use the wheelchair to easily take residents to the venue without having to rely on the residents own equipment, which can be unfamiliar, bulky and unsuitable for the venue.
In a joint statement, Cllr Haworth-Culf and Bond said:
“SGNS does a lot of great work in the community and we’re really pleased to have been able to help fund this wheelchair, which will make a difference to many older residents, who are unable to leave their homes on their own. Not only will they be able to get around more easily, it will also be easier for them to attend the weekly coffee mornings once they return, which will help with the loneliness and social isolation many have felt, especially during the pandemic.”
East Suffolk Council’s Enabling Communities Budgets support activities delivered by community, voluntary and social enterprise organisations.
In a response to Covid-19, all councillors allocated £1,000 from their 2020/21 Enabling Communities Budget towards a COVID-19 Hardship Fund. A further £45,000 was added to the fund from some budgets, though some councillors chose to donate directly to local groups. This meant that a total of £306,000 was allocated from the New Homes Bonus (funding generated through new houses built in the district) for 2020/21, giving each councillor a Enabling Communities Budget of either £5,500 or £6,500 to spend on community projects or to develop new projects in their ward to tackle local need.
Previous projects which have benefitted from Enabling Community Budget funding include play areas, village hall refurbishments and equipment, community events, projects supporting people with disabilities and the purchase of defibrillators.
The Enabling Communities Budget is now closed for 2020/21, but will reopen for 2021/22 on 1 April. Community groups wishing to apply for funding after this date should contact their district councillor or visit www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/enabling-communities-budgets for more information.