We can’t believe a year has passed since we all gathered at Trinity Park for our Annual Review!

Last night, we took Suffolk Community Foundation’s annual celebration of our work and the voluntary sector to the West of the county – in the contemporary surroundings of The Apex in Bury St Edmunds.

We were joined by trustees, patrons, charities and friends for an uplifting evening looking back on all that has been achieved this year. The theme  was the ‘The Power of Together’ – highlighting the increased impact that can be achieved by creating strategies and delivering solutions as one big  team.

Over 250 people gathered for welcome drinks in the foyer, before taking their seats. On each seat was a copy of our brand new Annual Report, which has the theme of ‘together’ running right through the heart of it. Our aim last night was to bring this document to life.

Our CEO Stephen Singleton was welcomed onto the stage with a round of applause. He addressed the audience, firstly paying tribute to our retiring Chairman, James Buckle and then introducing the ‘Power of Together’ theme.

Our Head of Public Affairs Tim Holder then explained what we had in store for the evening, kicking off with a brand new film for The Suffolk Medal.

We then introduced the Youth Intervention Fund, and Tim was joined on stage by our Head of Grant Programmes Andrea Pittock, Lanai Collis-Phillips, an ambassador from WASSUP, Katie Tyrell, a Research Associate from the University of Suffolk, and our Head of Philanthropy Judy Dow. The audience heard about the needs of young people in our county and how the Youth Invervention Fund came about. It was a touching moment as all of those groups funded by the first round of grantmaking were asked to stand in the audience and given encouragement  for the amazing work they do with a huge round of applause.

Tissues were definitely at the ready for the next section, as the focus shifted onto Suffolk’s recently launched Surviving Winter Appeal. CEO of Rural Coffee Caravan Ann Osborn, and Editor of the East Anglian Daily Times Brad Jones were joined on stage by Christine, a recipient of a winter fuel payment. After a deeply moving film was shown, Christine then explained a bit more about her situation and told everyone what a difference a Surviving Winter grant has made to her. She then encouraged everyone to give generously in order to help many more people in the same situation.

If you’d like to donate to the Surviving Winter or Winter Crisis Appeals, click here > https://www.suffolkcf.org.uk/survivingwinter2019/

For the final ‘on the sofa’ conversation of the evening, we turned to a ground-breaking example of ‘together’ in the form of a partnership project between the NHS, Suffolk Community Foundation and the voluntary sector in and across Suffolk and North Essex. Dr. Stephen Dunn, CEO of West Suffolk Hospital was joined by Andrea Pittock, and Micheal Attwood, our Partnership Development Manager.

Together, they explained exactly what an Integrated Care System is, and what it hopes to achieve in our local communities. Realising Ambitions seeks to partner the voluntary sector to harness their expertise and resources to improve the health and well being of our communities. At the end of the discussion, Andrea took to the lectern to announce that a total of 48 grants had been awarded, worth over £1.1M.

The spotlight then shone on Rachel Sloane, ex broadcaster and freelancer for the Foundation to deliver our ‘volunteering headlines’, which including the launch of our new Community Champions initiative, the High Sheriff’s Awards, Suffolk Dog Day and Suffolk Action Week.

Finally, Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk Lady Clare Euston took to the stage to thank James Buckle, following his retirement as our Chairman.

To finish, we were treated to a spectacular musical finale by The Rabble Chorus, and afterwards guests were invited to mingle with further drinks and canapes, and to visit the charities who had stands upstairs – Green Light Trust, Gatehouse Caring, Ipswich Community Media, Suffolk Refugee Support, REACH Haverhill and Suffolk Young People’s Health Project (4YP).

Thank you to everyone who attended last night – we hope it was insightful, enriching and inspiring! Also a big thank you to Rathbones for their continued support in sponsoring this event.

Keep your eyes peeled on our Galleries section – we’ll be sharing more pictures from the night very soon!

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