A new grant funding scheme has been launched in East Suffolk for voluntary organisations and community groups to help people struggling to meet the cost of living.

The East Suffolk Cost of Living Community Grant Fund has been set up with funding via the Suffolk Collaborative Communities Board, from the Suffolk Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF).

Funding is available to enable community, voluntary and social enterprise organisations, or town and parish councils, to support individuals and families who are struggling due to the current cost of living crisis.

The scheme is designed to help keep people warm, well-fed, safe and connected, with a particular focus on reducing incidents of respiratory conditions this winter.

Examples of eligible projects include those that support people to access hot, healthy, nutritious meals in community settings, or that help people to stay warm at home during the colder months.

Lowestoft Journal: Councillor Letitia SmithCouncillor Letitia Smith (Image: East Suffolk Council)

Letitia Smith, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for communities, leisure and tourism, said: “Most of us will have been affected in some way by the rising cost of living.

"Sadly, there are those for whom the impact has been much more severe, with some left unable to fund essential items for themselves or their families.

“By working closely with local community groups, we are aiming to help alleviate the pressure on those currently struggling.

“I urge existing or new organisations to find out about the East Suffolk Cost of Living Community Grant Fund and apply online.”

In addition to the East Suffolk Cost of Living Community Grant Fund, the Council’s overall Ease the Squeeze programme is worth more than half a million pounds.

More than £70,000 of the programme will be invested in a network of ‘Warm Rooms’ across the district in a range of locations, including community and church halls, leisure centres and pubs.

Part-funded by the UK Government (through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund) and East Suffolk Council, with a number also funded from Community Partnership budgets, the sites will provide a warm space and tea and coffee, with free activities, ranging from books and games to film showings, also being planned and funded independently by venues.

The fund will provide grants of between £500 and £5,000 for projects which support local residents struggling due to the rising cost of living.

Full guidance for applicants can be found online, along with a dedicated application page.