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Deben Community Farm and Bentley Community Shop among Suffolk winners in Working Together Awards

PUBLISHED: 19:01 23 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:18 24 March 2017

Heather Heelis at the Deben Community Farm.

Heather Heelis at the Deben Community Farm.

More than £75,000 has been given away to good causes in Suffolk to recognise the outstanding work they do in the community.

Deben Community Farm are celebrating after receiving a grant Deben Community Farm are celebrating after receiving a grant

The Working Together Awards of up to £10,000 were dished out by the Suffolk Community Foundation to groups as varied as village halls, museums and sports clubs.

The total pot of £78,500 was funded by Suffolk County Council and the initiative aims to support groups and projects encouraging people to work together.

Now 14 organisations have scooped awards ranging from £2,000 to the full £10,000.

Among them were the community shops in Bentley and Badingham, the Leiston Long Shop Museum and Halesworth in Bloom.

Bob Feltwell and Angela Roass at Bentley Community Stores. Bob Feltwell and Angela Roass at Bentley Community Stores.

The two groups receiving the maximum £10,000 grant were Deben Community Farm and The Teapot Project in Ipswich.

Stephen Singleton, chief executive of Suffolk Community Foundation, said: “Creating partnerships that work together to tackle issues at grassroots level is absolutely key.

“When we combine support and harness the energies of Suffolk County Council and our local charities and community groups, Suffolk does take a real step forward towards a brighter future where really anything is possible.”

The initiative is managed by Suffolk Community Foundation and recognises outstanding service delivery or community activity as a result of increased collaborative working.

Bob Feltwell at Bentley Community Stores. Bob Feltwell at Bentley Community Stores.

Jane Storey, cabinet member for rural matters and localities at Suffolk County Council, said: “The levels of community involvement have been truly awe inspiring to see.

“It’s really humbling to see people stepping up so generously with their time and talents and collaborating to make a sustainable difference within their own communities.

“The energy to create projects from the ground up really came across in their grant applications and we could see that so much effort and fundraising had already taken place in many cases. This really is all about working together for a better Suffolk.”

Deben Community Farm

Heather Heelis, one of the directors of Deben Community Farm, said they were “totally blown away” after receiving £10,000.

The community farm in Melton opened last June. It is home to 30 hens, two highland cattle, three sheep and three lambs, two pigs and 12 piglets. The land also includes a woodland area, a planted orchard and a yurt used by schools.

Mrs Heelis said: “We are going to use the money towards building a barn on the land which will allow us to do so many more workshops and activities for the community.

“Woodwork will be one of the craft activities, and we will hopefully get more people involved in the farm as a result.”

She said she was “absolutely grateful” to receive the full amount.

She said: “We were totally blown away when we found out. We didn’t expect it.

“We bring farming and people together and now hope to grow in the near future.”

Bentley Community Shop

A new outdoor paved area and interior improvements will be carried out at Bentley Community Shop after it received £5,000 in funding.

Chairman Bob Feltwell expressed his thanks for the “major donation” which will benefit the community.

The shop opened last June and is run by a total of 45 volunteers. The village, which has around 750 residents, went without a shop for 10 years before it opened.

Mr Feltwell said: “We are always coming up with new things we would like to do and this will enable us to improve some of the facilities we offer, especially to older people.

“We are looking at a new paved area outside the shop during the summer, providing an area for socialising and to have a cup of coffee with proper tables. We are also making some changes inside the shop and have got a retail person coming in to help us at Easter. We just want to make sure the money is spent wisely for the benefit of the community.”

The 14 beneficiaries

Haughley Village Hall

Honington and Sapiston Village Hall

Waveney Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum

TOPCATS (Lowestoft)

Bentley Community Shop CIC

Long Shop Museum

Deben Community Farm CIC

Suffolk Artlink

Walsham Le Willows Sports Club

Halesworth in Bloom

Music in Our Bones

Badingham Shop and Café CIC

490th Bomb Group

The Teapot Project

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