New grant to combat Covid rates ahead of winter

east suffolk council

East Suffolk Council will be hosting a free health event for locals in Beccles. - Credit: Thomas Chapman

A new £60,000 grant has been offered to 11 towns in the area to help reduce COVID numbers ahead of this forthcoming winter.

The 2022 Living with COVID-19 Town Centre Support Grant programme has been made available through the Covid Outbreak Management Fund, awarded by Suffolk Public Health. 

The grants have been awarded to projects which support good practice and activities that deliver ‘living with COVID-19’ approaches to reduce the potential spread of the virus this coming winter.     

The successful projects, led by partnerships of town councils, local authorities and Business Improvement Districts, will take place this winter in Beccles and Halesworth, as well as Bury St Edmunds, Clare, Hadleigh, Ipswich, Leiston, Mildenhall, Newmarket, Stowmarket and Sudbury. 

Suffolk Growth is now working with these eleven towns across a range of projects to deliver more outdoor activities and safer spaces for socialising, events, town centre walking routes and guidance for residents and visitors on staying safe.  

New outdoor events to extend the year-round visitor economy will be on offer in Beccles, where ‘Wild about Art’ will provide a workshop trail around the town, and in Newmarket a temporary outdoor ice-skating rink will be brought to the town centre for a winter weekend event. 

Promoting walking routes and wayfinding is part of a wider project in Halesworth, with Halesworth Town Council developing heritage trails and circular walks in and around the town. 

halesworth town sign

The Halesworth Neighbourhood Town Plan is currently going through a formal consultation process. - Credit: Archant

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Karen Chapman, Suffolk Growth partnership manager said: “We are really pleased to see Suffolk’s towns working in partnership to deliver safe and enjoyable activities to increase town centre footfall, encouraging a return to our high streets and at the same time deliver activity to build confidence and resilience for residents and visitors to live with COVID-19 this winter.

"These projects build on the good practice and guidance gathered by local councils and Suffolk Public Health over the pandemic.” 

The Living with COVID Town Centre Support Grant for 2022 follows a programme of the COMF Towns Fund of £40,000 granted to nine towns in Suffolk in November 2021 to support activity to prevent the spread of COVID-19.