Reflecting on the past year, and looking ahead to the future for Lowestoft with Phil Aves of Lowestoft Rising

Phil Aves

Phil Aves - Credit: Nick Butcher

I am Phil Aves the Change Manager for Lowestoft Rising, a partnership of Public Sector and Voluntary Sector Organisations set up the make Lowestoft a better place for everyone.

We wish all the readers a prosperous and Happy New Year.

So what can we do by working in Partnership?

2016 has been a good year for our schools and our education providers. The hard work and effort put in by everybody is starting to show and with increased numbers of schools getting good rating from Ofsted, improving GCSE exam results and excellent 6th Form College results the future is looking brighter. 2016 also saw the opening of the MYGO centre helping young people 16-24 years to get into the job market or take up training. It's been a real partnership effort to get that service here in Lowestoft.

Our work with the Street Drinkers and other Drug and Alcohol users has shown real benefits with a number now housed properly and addressing their addictions. Again a real partnership effort across the Town by agencies playing their part in turning around the lives of some very troubled individuals. We have put a bid into Government to get more. money so we can help even more in 2017. Fingers crossed we prosper from that Government money.

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We are certainly going to need it judging by this years 'Rough Sleeper Count' in November which showed a marked increase in those sleeping rough.

But our colleagues at Access Community Trust and Foodbank have responded really positively by opening a 'Soup Kitchen' two nights a week to help. With between 30 and 40 people accessing the soup kitchen each night it tells you we still have a lot of work to do. But working together we can do so much more.

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So what is new for 2017, well 'Volunteer for a Happy New Year' that will our battle cry for people in Lowestoft. We know that a lot of the good work done in Lowestoft would not happen but for the volunteers that make it happen. We also know that volunteering is a great way to learn new skills and get the work experience that so many people need. It's great for your CV at any age.

But all our partners tell us they need more volunteers and our Colleges and Work Coaches tell us they need more opportunities for Volunteers.

So working with Access Community Trust and the Big Lottery we are rolling out a supported volunteer programme for Lowestoft. A central co-ordinator to help people into volunteering, getting them ready and then matching them up with the right organisation that can look after them and get them helping. This should be your New Year resolution, give up some time and volunteer, whether it is working on the Care Farm, helping in a school, helping a sports club, helping at the Foodbank or one of the many Church activities. Every hour we give will help someone else's life improves. We have a wide range of opportunities waiting for the right volunteers to come along.

That should be our wish for 2017 and Lowestoft Rising wishes to make that as easy as possible for you to get involved.

'Volunteer for a Happy New Year.'

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