Suffolk Community Foundation held their Annual Review on Monday (13 March), this year combining it with the county’s High Sheriff Awards.

Held at Trinity Park, over 400 hundred guests gathered from every corner of Suffolk including charities and community groups, public sector and business leaders and, of course Suffolk’s High Sheriff Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton.

Last year, Suffolk Community Foundation provided £4.9m in grants to local charities, taking its total grant funding since its inception in 2005 to £38.5m to over 3,000 local charities and community groups across Suffolk.

Suffolk Community Foundation Chair George Vestey said

‘’Despite the backdrop to this year’s review being one of ever more volatile and uncertain times, it has been truly inspirational to see individuals and organisations across the county rising to the myriad of challenges with the most extraordinary generosity, positivity, innovation and determination.’’

This year’s event included, for the first time, the County’s annual High Sheriff Awards, sponsored by Birketts, The East Anglian Daily Times, Suffolk Building Society and Rathbones and hosted by High Sheriff Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton. Financial support of over £40K was shared between 13 local charities and community groups including the four award winners, Access Community Trust, Emmaus, Gatehouse and Suffolk Refugee Support.

In tribute to the winner and charity sector as a whole Jamie said ‘I’ve been humbled at how generous volunteers are with their time and I’ve seen what an incredibly important contribution they make to people’s lives in Suffolk. They are really the glue in our communities that provides so much positivity and hope.’
Also included where on the sofa interviews with Claire Staddon CEO of Emmaus and Emma Ratzer MBE, CEO of Access Community Trust with other speakers also included Chief Executive Melanie Craig and Jamie Lowther Pinkerton and a Keynote speaker and special guest Seyi Obakin OBE, Chief Executive of national homelessness charity Centrepoint.

Seyi delivered an inspirational speech, giving an insight into homelessness, the work of Centrepoint with his thoughts very much in tune with the key messages of the event. Seyi said: “If we want to tackle social issues, we must all work in partnership with genuine collaboration showing complete commitment and compromise.”

“Projects layered with prescriptive outcomes often stifle innovation because we like things we can easily count and measure – but where that leaves us, is a place where we just manage problems rather than solve them.”

In her first Annual Review speech as the Foundation’s CEO, Melanie Craig said:

‘’We’ve heard very clearly how the need is changing in Suffolk and across the country – so many people’s lives are now more complex, living in deep crisis for longer or experiencing real hardship and requiring support for the first time in their lives. I already know first-hand, even after only a short time leading the Foundation team, that projects achieve the greatest impact by working in partnerships built on trust, collaboration and generosity – whatever the challenge – this is what turns good work into lasting sustainable impact!’’

Speeches from the event


Seyi Obakin, OBE
Chief Executive CentrePoint

George Vestey, Chair, Suffolk Community Foundation

Melanie Craig, CEO, Suffolk Community Foundation

A special thanks to our event sponsors

4 logos