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Parishes have been invited to help CAS in helping them to maintain Rural Services in their areas

Community Action Suffolk and its predecessor organisation Suffolk ACRE have periodically consulted rural parishes about local services and facilities through the Rural Services Survey.

The information gathered has been vital in producing up to date information about Suffolk’s communities. It has also helped communities to retain and create shops, pubs, post offices and other such essential community services.

Since our last Survey in 2012 there have been some great successes; Purdis Poppy Care Farm, 40 parishes have been supported to enable provision of 400 new affordable homes for local people across the county, the Barrow Community Play Project, to name a few.

During these times of austerity, we all know that we have to pull together as a community, and there is plenty of evidence that this is already happening across Suffolk.  There are additional opportunities to preserve and create community services extended further by public sector ‘divestment’ of services, and many Parishes are looking very closely at ways of assuming control of these important local facilities. The Localism Bill / Act and its Neighbourhood Planning initiative has also started to provide further opportunities for local influence.

In the light of all these developments it is exactly the right time for us to undertake a further Survey and all parishes in Suffolk with a population of less than 10,000 have been invited to participate as they have done so valuably in the past. Our questions this time have been tailored to try to reflect all of the changes which are taking place, and we hope will help us to evaluate the progress communities are making, whilst at the same time looking at what is planned in the near future.

The survey is open until the end of September and the Report of the findings should be published by December. We would just like to remind all Parish and Town Councils to respond to this survey if they have not yet done so, to ensure that we get a picture of all villages and towns across the county.

If you have misplaced your survey log in details, or would prefer a hard copy of the form to be sent to you, please contact Natalie Lomas by emailing [email protected] or telephone 01473 345400.