A Suffolk charity based in Stowmarket, has had a boost of nearly £10,000 in funding, helping it to upscale its provision for transport and later life support in the wake of Covid.
BSEVC, which first launched as Bury St Edmunds Voluntary Centre in 1991, has received a total of £9,643, via the Suffolk Community Restart initiative, led by Community Action Suffolk.
The money has been distributed by East Suffolk Council, Ipswich Borough Council, Mid Suffolk and West Suffolk, enabling it to deliver specific vital community services in areas where they are most needed.
Of the funds, just under £2,500 is being directly used on transportation, for the area of Mid Suffolk. It has allowed BSEVC to restart their community car service, recruit and onboard drivers for regular transportation of rural residents, and provide transport staff with necessary PPE and cleaning materials.
Funding provided for the charity’s ‘later life’ services will have a specific focus on supporting later life carers who may need support with re-engagement post-Covid 19.
Jo Reeder, Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to have received this grant to support the expansion of our services, at a time when Suffolk’s residents need considerable support and reassurance in getting back to community activities they enjoyed pre-pandemic, or to enable them to be transported to vital appointments.
“As a community-focused charity, we have worked hard over the last 12 months to develop new services – including Suffolk Carers Matter, and Later Life Community – and now by being in receipt of this funding, we’re able to build on that momentum and continue extending our offer in ways which benefit people throughout the county.”
Throughout Covid, BSEVC repurposed its fleet of eight vehicles and continued to support the areas of Ipswich and Mid Suffolk in particular. It was heavily involved in assisting patients to get to and from vaccinations during the core period of the rollout at the start of the year.
Ms Reeder added: “We’re very grateful to the Restart team for their support not only with the funding, but with the availability of other advice and training, which has meant that organisations like ours can be in the best place possible to improve or grow our support of people living across Suffolk.
The county’s Community Restart initiative, which is managed by Community Action Suffolk, has already allocated some hundreds of thousands of pounds and helped well over 400 groups get back up and running after Covid.
Chris Abraham, CEO of Community Action Suffolk, commented: “BSEVC absolutely encapsulates the kind of organisation we are seeking to support through this programme.
“They’re a busy charity, running a number of community-focused services which are absolutely vital, often to people living in rural parts of our county.
“We’re pleased and proud to have been able to support them through the grant process.”
Organisations as diverse as toddler groups, cricket clubs, parent projects, wellbeing sessions and community transport, have been among the many recipients to be gifted up to £2,500 toward safety measures, post-pandemic adjustments, training or recruitment.
In addition to being able to apply for grants, organisations can also access Suffolk Community Restart for advice, training and peer support.
Suffolk Community Restart has been made possible through a partnership process involving Suffolk County Council, the District Councils and Borough Councils.
Those keen to apply for grants of up to £2,500, or to find out about on-demand training and additional restart advice, can go to