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Research into Suffolk and the VCFSE Sector

Community Action Suffolk (CAS) aims to undertake research into the VCFSE (Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise) sector in Suffolk to ensure that the VCFSE sector in Suffolk has a voice in areas where we need to influence for the benefit of our communities, and to provide input into the development of the inclusive economic growth of Suffolk. 

State of the VCFSE Sector in Suffolk 2023

Suffolk Rural Services Survey 2022

Central to Community Action Suffolk’s core mission, is the desire to see all communities thrive, wherever they may be in the county of Suffolk.

Since the 1990s, we periodically conduct the Rural Services Survey – an invaluable resource in helping us to understand the changing landscape for rural communities, assisting us to identify what resources may be needed, and ultimately helping us to continue with an approach of ‘rural proofing’, such that residents feel fairly supported in every respect.

Conducted with the critical contribution of Parish and Town Councils, and the many Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise Organisations across the county; the report enables us to truly understand the picture of their respective parishes.  With an 84% response rate, this year’s survey provides valuable insights into rural communities and allows us to follow trends drawn from previous surveys.

It is perhaps not at all surprising, given some of the significant global activities and pressures which have played out since our last survey in 2015, that the degree of change in some areas has been marked.

All the information you need to delve into the report can be found here:

Suffolk Rural Survey - Family and Wellbeing (Health and Education) Infographic
Health - 11% of parishes have a permanent or visiting doctors' surgery, which has remained reasonably static over the survey periods and 9% of parishes have a Pharmacy within them. 
Adult education - There has been a sharp decline of adult classes in literacy, numeracy and/or IT, with only 1% of parishes having such. 
Dental - 74% of parishes do not have a dental surgery within them. 2% have an NHS dental surgery, 4% have a private dental surgery and 2% have a combined NHS/Private dental surgery.
Early Years - have fluctuated with 13% of parishes currently having no childcare provisions. 53% have indicated that they have some form of early years provision, with 32% having out of school provision. 
Youth Services - 14% of parishes have a youth club, youth faith group or youth uniformed group within them. 
30% of parishes indicated a key concern with health and wellbeing.
Suffolk Rural Survey - Infrastructure
Transport - 45% of parishes indicated a key concern with 'transport'. Only 42% of parishes have any scheduled bus service serving them. 31% of parishes have a formal or informal voluntary or community transport scheme available. 
Broadband - 24% of respondents reported having a 'Good or Excellent Quality' broadband coverage, which is an increase on 14% of parish respondents in 2011/12 and 13% of parish respondents in 2015-16. 37% of parishes indicated a key concern with technology (access to Superfast Broadband >25mpbs and good mobile signal)
Roads - 55% of parishes indicated a key concern with 'roads (repairs and maintenance)'
Renewable Energy - 2% of parishes indicated that they had both planned and existing community renewable energy generation projects.
36% of parishes indicated a key concern with environment (including concerns around climate change). 
Land - 37% of parishes indicated a key concern with land.