A total across both councils of over £314,000 is available for Councillors to allocate to groups and organisations within their ward during the 2021/22 financial year.

This can be used for a wide range of projects, but must meet the councils’ priorities for grant funding to help:

  • create strong, thriving and connected communities 
  • support communities in their response to the climate emergency
  • promote resilient and healthy communities 

Projects which have previously received funding include the Stowmarket Rickshaw Project, a unique free service providing vital transport to vulnerable residents. 

Mid Suffolk District Councillors were quick to lend their support to the project, with £3,600 contributed towards this from last year’s Locality Awards budget.

Cllr Julie Flatman, cabinet member for Communities for Mid Suffolk District Council said: 

“Our council allocated almost £218,000 in Locality Awards last year, and I am delighted that Stowmarket ward members were able to use some of this funding to make a significant contribution to the town’s new rickshaw scheme – supporting our ongoing ambition for Mid Suffolk residents to lead active, healthy, safe and independent lives.

“Since this invaluable initiative launched last month, it has enabled service users with limited mobility to get out and pick up prescriptions, attend medical appointments or meet with friends – all whilst benefitting from fresh air and enjoying a novel mode of transport.”

Ensuring that no resident is left feeling lonely or excluded remains of great importance for both councils, and Locality Awards grants can be used towards combating this in communities by installing hearing loops, providing Wi-Fi in rural areas, or hosting coffee mornings or lunch clubs.

Groups can also apply for funding for sports and play equipment, exercise classes, walking festivals and other initiatives which support the councils’ aim for communities to lead active lives and manage their own health and wellbeing.

One such project to receive funding last year, was the installation of a defibrillator in Shotley Gate – allowing a dose of electrical current to be delivered to the heart in life-threatening cardiac emergencies – made possible by contributions from Babergh District Councillors’ 2020/21 Locality Awards budget.

Cllr Derek Davis, cabinet member for Communities for Babergh District Council commented: 

“Locality Awards ensure that councillors can use their local knowledge to support the projects needed in their communities, as we all work towards Babergh being somewhere that everyone is proud to call home. 

“Creating bright and healthy futures for our residents is key and it’s great news that Shotley Gate now has their own defibrillator, which can mean the difference between life and death, as we witnessed from the shocking collapse of Christian Eriksen during a recent Euro 2020 match.”

Applications are also welcome for providing medical skills such as first aid to communities, as well as supporting them in other training including safeguarding, fire safety and anti-social behaviour prevention.

It is hoped that this year’s Locality Awards funding will help to foster and maintain bonds between both councils and the districts’ voluntary and community sectors, with foodbanks, good neighbour schemes, Scouts and Guides, community transport groups and village halls amongst previous grant recipients. 

Those wishing to apply for funding can visit the councils’ website for further details or to download an application form. 

All applications must be signed by a District Councillor before being submitted to the councils’ Communities team no later than 25 February 2022.

The minimum award amount is £250 per application and all payments will be released by 31 March 2022.