'Remarkable' - Lowestoft charity handed national prize by BBC star

Access Community Trust chief executive Emma Ratzer receiving the special wellbeing award from Best Companies host Dan Walker.

Access Community Trust chief executive Emma Ratzer receiving the special wellbeing award from Best Companies host and BBC journalist Dan Walker. Picture: Courtesy of Access Community Trust - Credit: Courtesy of Access Community Trust

A Lowestoft charity has been named one of the best to work for in the UK.

Lowestoft-based Access Community Trust is celebrating after scooping highly-prized accreditations from top workplace engagement specialists Best Companies.

The charity - which delivers a range of projects and services throughout Suffolk and Norfolk - has been ranked as the second best charity to work for in the UK.

Each year thousands of organisations across the UK are assessed on how employers support their workforce to develop and maintain staff wellbeing and engagement.

With Covid adversely affecting many employees’ mental health across the country, Access Community Trust has used the pandemic as a catalyst to enhance its internal support offering to staff by introducing a number of additional support services for its workforce of over 160 people.

Alongside being named as the second best charity to work for in the UK, Access was also recognised with a special recognition wellbeing award from Best Companies for a medium sized company, which was presented by BBC journalist Dan Walker in a live television event from Manchester’s Media City.

Emma Ratzer, CEO of Access Community Trust, said: “This recognition is remarkable.

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"Our team has been challenged continually over the past year, taking pride in their work, while adapting to the many obstacles thrown their way.

"It is a testament to how brilliant they all are.

"Our charity’s mission is to support many vulnerable individuals and communities that are socially isolated due to a number of complex reasons and to do this requires a compassionate and invested team.”

After the announcement Jonathan Austin, founder and CEO of Best Companies, said: “Access Community Trust should be very proud of their achievement, demonstrating ‘world class’ levels of engagement.”

The trust has recently completed its Easter holidays campaign, which saw more than 21,000 children and their households supported across Norfolk and Suffolk, through it’s ‘PINK orange’ meal kits project.

Later this month, the organisation is set to transform two vacant high street shops in Gorleston and Kings Lynn into walk-in mental health cafés, which will offer crisis support to anyone that needs assistance.

Called STEAM House, the cafés will open seven days a week, until late into the evening.