Our first Fund awards provide local charities with over £3,000

The Suffolk Community Foundation, established in 2005, is a charity dedicated to supporting local charities and community groups throughout Suffolk.

The Foundation works with individuals and businesses to channel monies to small local charities and good causes. We have created our own Fund with The Suffolk Community Foundation. We as using this Fund to support causes that benefit children and young people in need, helping them make the most of opportunities and overcoming the barriers to leading full and active lives.

Over the past six months the Fund has risen to over £10,000 through generous donations from events such as The Orwell Walk and our Charity Golf Day. Following our first grants panel meeting with The Suffolk Community Foundation we are delighted to announce the first three charities we have agreed to support:

Ipswich Opportunity Group

The Ipswich Opportunity Group aims to advance the education of pre-school children who have additional needs (including physical, sensory, and learning difficulties) through the provision of play activities.

Based on Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, the Group provides three sessions per week supporting 20 families with an average of 8-10 children attending each session. They provide a range of play activities including creative, constructive, and physical play. Augmentative communication is used for all sessions by signing, pictures, and symbols. Children benefit from the experience of being in a small group and being able to access a range of activities. In addition to supporting the children, the sessions provide short periods of respite when parents/carers have some time to themselves while staff and volunteers look after the children.

Several of the children are not able to sit in the chairs that the Group has, as their head and neck control is not very strong. Some of the children have to have their head held while they are sitting to stop them hurting themselves. The children that attend the Group have more difficulty than others understanding and interacting with the world around them and gaining independence. The Group feels that having more opportunities for sensory activities will assist with the childrens' development.

The Group would benefit from a Brookfield chair (a special supportive and adjustable chair to enable children to be as safe and comfortable as possible), a therapy bench, dark den and a mains controller switch. The switch sounds simple but is very effective as it gives the children the independence to activate the sensory equipment by themselves.

The cost of these items is £1,567 and they will be purchased using our Fund.

Ipswich Community Playbus

The Ipswich Community Playbus (known as 'Maggie') travels to areas in Ipswich that contain the greatest concentration of social housing, where families are from low socio-economic backgrounds, and do not have access to mainstream facilities for pre-school children and their families. The aim is to advance the education of children below compulsory school age through the provision of group play facilities.

The Ipswich Community Playbus runs nine sessions per week, all are free and last for two hours. They support over 300 families with up to 16 children able to attend each session.

The project require £970 towards the purchase of new toys and craft materials for the playbus. The full cost of this is being donated from our Fund.

Home-Start Suffolk Coastal

Home-Start Suffolk Coastal offer support, friendship, and practical help to parents, with one or more children under five years of age, who are experiencing difficulties in their lives. Such difficulties may include post-natal depression, isolation, divorce, illness or disability in the family. Home-Start recruits and trains volunteers with parenting experience who are then carefully matched with a family who are going through a difficult time to build a trusting relationship and help in whatever way is needed. The approach varies according to the needs of each family, but a volunteer brings whatever is needed; a confidential listening ear, help with entertaining and playing with the children where life is stressful, transport and support at difficult meetings. Families are visited in their own home by the Home-Start volunteer for as long as the family needs them. The support is free and confidential.

Families are also supported through their Family Groups initiative, which offer a safe environment where parents are encouraged to make friends and support each other while children play together and learn new skills. Family Groups currently operate in Leiston, Felixstowe, Woodbridge, and Ipswich East.

Home-Start need support for their 'school readiness' programme. The programme already runs in Suffolk Coastal, but Home-Start recognised a real need to extend this project to benefit the Gainsborough Family Group in east Ipswich. The aim of the project is to help better prepare children for school life. This is in direct response to research that shows that 57% of children in Ipswich are assessed as not being school ready upon entry.

Home-Start require £637 towards purchasing equipment to support the school readiness programme for the Gainsborough Family Group. The full cost of this is being donated from our Fund.

Thank You

We would like to thank everyone who has supported, participated or donated to our Fund as without you it would not be possible to support these great causes.

We shall continue to bring you updates on these and other causes we are supporting, along with future opportunities for you to get involved to help raise money and continue supporting children and young people in need in Suffolk.

Pound Gates and Sevatas Fund

Date: 23rd October 2013