Welcome to Flourish, a call to action for all communities across Suffolk – we would love you to get involved.
Our big focus is on making Suffolk one of the best places in the UK to live, work and learn; and in particular for our precious rural communities to be at the heart of prosperity and progress. It’s as much about opportunities as well as challenges, but we have our work cut out.
The driving force behind Flourish is the sobering report published in July 2016 by the Suffolk Community Foundation – Hidden Needs – which revealed Suffolk to be a county of growing visible affluence, but also home to pockets of some of the most embedded deprivation in Britain, with many indicators showing a serious and deteriorating situation.
The report had a profound impact on people, communities, businesses, local authorities and voluntary organisations right across the county.
And the message came back – “what are we going to do about it?”
Immediately, Suffolk’s Lord-Lieutenant, Clare, Countess of Euston, brought together four voluntary sector organisations: Suffolk Agricultural Association, Suffolk Community Foundation, Community Action Suffolk and The Seckford Foundation.
Practical support was offered by the University of Suffolk, Suffolk County Council and the New Anglia LEP as well as privately-owned businesses and many individuals who want to donate their time and expertise.
Everyone involved is focused on practical actions based on facts and understanding, working in partnership with existing and new initiatives to enhance their impact.
In October 2016 we launched Flourish at a Rural Summit covering many of the issues facing rural Suffolk. Our discoveries that day were generously captured by Debbie Roberts from @EngageVisually (see below). This highlighted a number of the main issues we need to tackle.
But we are not going to rush off and get stuck in without first everyone having the opportunity to feed in their own experience, reflections, ideas and thoughts.
And we know just how much work is being done already to tackle some of the big challenges – hundreds of organisations and thousands of volunteers are dedicating time and resources. While Flourish will support that work, we will look at the additional unique contribution we can make. From encouraging greater collaborations to securing pledges of funding or support in kind – and so much more.
So please help us to shape an exciting Action Plan, which will be so much more than words on the page; it will set out a programme of practical actions and the goals we want to achieve, and most importantly, a timetable for when each will be delivered.
We will launch the Action Plan in September, but first, we are launching a county-wide public consultation through face-to-face meetings and this interactive website. Our friends at the East of England Co-op and the Rural Coffee Caravan will also be asking customers for feedback and to get involved.
Throughout June and July, Flourish will be out and about, meeting people across Suffolk to see how we can help.
Please come along to one of these friendly and informal sessions, and bring some friends and colleagues too.
The Flourish conference identified six key areas for attention:
Flourish’s six key areas of immediate focus are:
1. Broadband and mobile coverage
2. Community transport
3. Aspiration, skills and jobs
4. Strengthening communities and tackling isolation
5. Rural business (including farming)
6. Better access to legal services
We are also reaching out to future generations to better understand the ambitions and aspirations of 14-25yr olds across the county. ‘Young Flourish’ has been active for several months and has undertaken an extensive consultation. You can read more about Young Flourish here.