12/02/24: Council announces '£1m investment into Breckland communities'

Breckland Council logo

More than £1m is to be spent on a series of initiatives aimed at supporting some of Breckland's most vulnerable residents.

At their meeting today (12 February), Breckland's Cabinet members unanimously voted in favour of investing £1.1m of the council's funding, plus around £200k secured from the council's partners, to deliver services which support people who have experienced domestic abuse, declining mental health, or financial hardship.

Breckland Council's award-winning Inspiring Communities programme initially launched in 2020 thanks to an initial £1m investment made by the council. Today's decision means the programme will continue for another three years, bringing the total committed by councillors to supporting vulnerable people in the district to around £2.3m over six years.

Cllr Tristan Ashby, Breckland Council's Executive Member for Health and Communities, commented: "This is fantastic news for Breckland residents as it represents significant, ongoing, impactful support for people living in our towns and villages who need it most. As a council, we've worked hard to balance our books and as a result we are in a position to fund additional services that make such a difference to our communities. But at the end of the day, this isn't about how much this costs; it is about investing in our communities and the people we serve."

The programme of services is delivered in partnership with a range of partner organisations, including GPs, mental health NHS trusts, and charities. The £1m investment made by the council already is estimated to have helped save around £1.8 million to public bodies, including the council and NHS, by helping people before their conditions worsen and they need extra support.

Last summer, Breckland Council won the Health and Social Care category of the Local Government Chronicle Awards in recognition of the impact the programme has had on Breckland's residents.

Among the programme's successes to date, through the Inspiring Communities programme the council and its partners have:

  • supported more than 1,000 survivors of domestic abuse
  • helped 2,000 people access low-cost food
  • trained 300 mental health champions
  • improved support for 250 residents by bringing together a range of service providers to agree a holistic approach to care
  • helped 1,750 access mental health support via the creation of the REST community hub in Thetford

Looking ahead, the Inspiring Communities programme is expected to evolve further over the next three years, building on the existing support that's already in place while offering new forms of support.

This is expected to include: enhancing the Social Prescribing service, working with local GPs to connect isolated and potentially lonely people with social activities and support networks; working with residents needing help from the council's Housing service to see what other help and support they may need; further evolving the council's 'food bus' service and mental health networks; further funding for domestic abuse support; and extending debt and financial advice through the Citizen's Advice Bureau.

In addition, the new-look Inspiring Communities programme will also see a new grants scheme for community-led projects launched, a new services hub opened in Dereham, a new focus on tackling anti-social behaviour in the district; and a series of 'pop up hubs' held across the district to help people access information about training and skills, financial support, health issues, housing support and more.

Last updated: 12/02/2024 17:08:15