Friday, 11 September 2015

National Citizens Service - Post by Ben Gummer MP

I have had it repeated to me many times on the doorstep, normally from older men: we need to bring back National Service.  I agree with the sentiment, even if I don’t think young men should be put through compulsory military training any more.  The fact is that most of us come out of school pretty green and anything that helps develop maturity, resilience and character is a good thing.
Which is why National Citizens Service is so special.  A personal initiative of the prime minister, NCS has been going for a few years now and is gaining in reputation, popularity and strength.  You can see why: it gives young people a chance to do something very different – a community project, volunteering, team working – with people that they have not met before or worked with.  It is challenging, exciting and at the end of it, most teams have something tangible to show for their summer’s efforts.
Just over the last couple of years I have seen the calibre of projects increase.  Even so, nothing I have seen so far matched the dream of this year’s Team 12, led by Diana Ramalho, Laura Bridges and Julia Rusek, who came to see me to explain what they wanted to do.
Moved by the effect the loss of a child has on a family, Diana, Laura and Julia wanted to create a garden in Holywells Park that would be a place where families could remember their little loved ones, leave a permanent memorial and be a gathering place where people who shared so great a loss could be together and support each other.
What was so impressive is what they had already achieved before they came to see me: a space in Holywells Park, and corporate sponsorship and a fundraising plan to help pay for the beautiful space they had conceived.  They have called it the Magic Garden Project and I am sure that for families, it will be precisely that.
The legacy of Team 12’s efforts will be greater than this Magic Garden, however: there will be a dozen or so young men and women with experience and confidence in fundraising and project management that most people in their forties do not possess.  That is something that National Service never provided and which NCS is doing for young people across Britain.  It’s a great project and it is yielding results not just for the individuals involved but for the communities they live in and sought to serve.
Little Aylan
The loss of a child has been very much at the forefront of our minds in the last week.  As a father of a little boy, just on the verge of being able to walk, my stomach turned with particular force on seeing the harrowing pictures of little Aylan face down in the surf.  His is a tragedy of millions, forced from their homes in a war on our doorstep.  This is no far and distant land and we are seeing the effects now not just in Calais but on the European beaches where British people have been spending their summer holidays.
We must be clear about the scale of response that is required.  We cannot just help those most vulnerable who need a home: it is imperative that we do what we can to crush the evil that is forcing them out of their country in the first place.  Even if it were the right thing to walk on by – and it is not – it is in our own interests to do much more.
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Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Apply now for Community Cash Grants - Ipswich

 Voluntary groups and charities in Ipswich can now apply for next year’s Community Cash grants.

The Borough Council is continuing its annual awards scheme to organisations working to benefit residents.

There are two types of grant, both up to £20,000, and Communities portfolio-holder Sophie Meudec urged groups to apply well before the 12th October deadline. “Obviously, there will never be enough money to fund all projects or to meet everyone’s needs but we do aim to invest effectively in community projects. Last year, we increased the grant pot and we have now maintained this higher level of funding.”

A Community Investment Grant provides core funding for running costs or pump priming funding for an organisation to build its capacity.

A Community Project Grant is suitable for trying something new or for one-off activities that deliver one or more of the Council’s grants priorities.

You can fill in an application form online at

This also contains all the relevant documentation and guidance to apply for a community cash grant:

Please return your complete application with relevant supplementary documents (financial report, equality & safeguarding policies etc.) to The deadline for submission of your application is noon on Monday 12th October 2015.

Organisations are advised to submit their applications early so there is time to make amendments before the deadline.

For further comment:
Cllr Sophie Meudec, tel: 01473 741255
Cllr Nadia Cenci, opposition Conservative Group Leader, tel: 01473 682760
Cllr Inga Lockington, opposition Liberal Democrat Group Leader, tel: 01473 213444

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

New Market Loyalty Scheme in Ipswich

Ipswich Market is re-launching its loyalty card scheme to give customers an opportunity to win a monthly prize draw of up to £50 in vouchers.

The scheme was introduced by Ipswich Borough Council last year and has seen more than 21 winners receive vouchers to spend on the market.

All you need to do is to get your loyalty card stamped every time you spend £5 and over on any Ipswich Market stall. Once you have all 12 stamps, hand the completed card to any market trader who will enter it into the monthly draw. Vouchers worth £30 and £20 will also be given to two completed loyalty cards picked at random each month.

Kevin Walker, Ipswich Market Supervisor, said: “The scheme proved so popular with customers that we wanted to continue it. We have now made the vouchers more flexible so they can be spent across more stalls. We have seen lots of people using the loyalty cards but we would like to see even more. It all adds to creating a thriving market in the centre of our town.”

Loyalty cards are available from all our market traders for terms and conditions please visit:

The first draw of the new scheme will take place on 30th September and thereafter on the last day of the month. 

Issued by the IBC press office, tel: 01473 432035  

Suffolk county Council Winter Plan

Bulletin 1 - September 2015

As we reach the end of the summer there is now a month to go until the winter season starts.

Teams from Suffolk Highways are already busy making detailed preparations for the potential challenges ahead.

 In Suffolk we’ll be treating 3,360 kilometres / 2,100 miles of network each time there is a risk of ice and our gritters.

 In the build up to October Suffolk Highways will be checking routes, servicing the fleet and training the teams to ensure a first class service is provided to the public.

 Don’t be surprised if you see a gritter with a snowplough even if the sun is shining and the weather is mild – failure to prepare means preparing to fail!

 We’ll be providing another update to you on the work during September