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Funding boost for innovative new youth project

Over £100,000 has been agreed for innovative new project which supports young people in rural areas of East Suffolk.

Last night, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet agreed to allocate £101,650 for a two-year pilot project which aims to support young people in rural parts of the district as they face ongoing challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Delivered by Community Action Suffolk, the Rural Youth Support Project will initially focus on the four most rural Community Partnership areas in East Suffolk, which are within the Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and villages Community Partnership, the Carlton Colville, Kessingland and villages Community Partnership, the Framlingham, Wickham Market and villages Community Partnership and the Melton, Woodbridge and Deben Peninsula Community Partnership.

The aim of the project is to provide support tailored to each community, which will be based on engagement with its young people about their needs. This could include providing more social opportunities with a youth café or youth club, supporting a healthier lifestyle with activity sessions or making services more accessible with carpools.

This comes after seven of the East Suffolk Community Partnerships identified some aspect of support for young people as one of their priorities, including education, opportunities, aspirations, services, facilities, activities, physical activities and mental well-being.

Cllr Letitia Smith, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for Communities, Leisure and Tourism, said: “Young people have been hugely impacted by the pandemic, and we know that many are concerned about the long-term implications, particularly in rural communities where there are specific challenges around access to services and youth provision. 

“East Suffolk Council is committed to supporting our young people as we hopefully continue to recover, whether this is based on mental health and well-being, education aspirations, job opportunities or something completely different, this project will allow us to focus on specific local needs of our young people in rural areas.”

The Rural Youth Support project will compliment other youth projects available in East Suffolk, including the Council’s ‘Youth Voice’ project and Suffolk County Council’s ‘Youth Focus’.

Christine Abraham, Chief Executive Officer of Community Action Suffolk, said: “Community Youth Workisvital, and the benefits they provide for young people are real and long-lasting. While public servicesstep in when problems occur, community youth work can prevent so many of those difficulties from occurring in the first place and it’s great to see East Suffolk investing in this work. We hope that the project will provide the right level of support for communities to create more local opportunities for safe, supportive, and fun youth provision.”