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Business Leaders Gather To Pledge In Support Of Suffolk’s Voluntary Sector

LEADERS from some of Suffolk’s best known brands and businesses united this week for an event to encourage volunteering support across the county.

The business breakfast, led by Community Action Suffolk and hosted by High Sheriff Mark Pendlington, was the latest step in #TheBigSuffolkPledge initiative, which launched on the weekend of The King’s Coronation.

Organisations and individuals across the county are being asked to consider how they can participate in an act of volunteering, or show support for volunteering, via a simple pledge method, which is submitted online at

It comes at a time when the voluntary sector is facing increasing challenges regarding volunteer levels, donations, and an increase in demand upon their services. The most recent Cost of Living Survey by Community Action Suffolk showed that volunteer levels had fallen 47% in recent times, and that donations had fallen by the same figure.

Meanwhile, 83.5% of organisations are experiencing increased core costs.

This week’s business breakfast specifically sought the support of company owners and leaders, and urged them to explore concepts such as Employer Supported Volunteering, which enables all staff to have time away from their roles to embark on community activity.

Among those delivering presentations about their own approach to ESV, was Kevin Ward, of IYJI, Oliver Drury, of Adnams, Andy Brown, of Anglian Water, and Graeme Stokoe, of Bosch.

Mark Pendlington, who opened the event and urged the business community to throw their weight behind #TheBigSuffolkPledge, said: “Once again we see business leaders responding to a positive call to action, to help voluntary organisations and charities tackle some of the toughest challenges in Suffolk.

Businesses have ideas and expertise to offer, and many choose to give generously of both.

Our ask at the event was for all of us to re-double our efforts to recruit more help and support, and already many pledges are being made. Our task now is to reach many hundreds more, but what a fantastic start this has been.”

Hannah Reid, Deputy CEO of Community Action Suffolk, added: “There is a genuine urgency around the need to support the voluntary sector in the county, and this event has been a wonderful way to shine a light on that stark reality.

“We are really heartened by the response we have seen from the business leaders at this event, and we know that they all left enthused and inspired, with a desire to get their teams involved and to create a meaningful pledge.

“This is a great step for Suffolk!”

Other businesses in attendance at the event, included Ipswich Town Football Club, University of Suffolk, Birketts, MAD-HR, and East of England Co-Op.

For more information about #TheBigSuffolkPledge, go to