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Borough pledges money to support Ipswich youngsters on Racecourse estate

PUBLISHED: 05:30 04 July 2019

A community meeting in Ipswich in 2018 led to actions to tackle gangs and violence, following the death of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. Picture: GEMMA MITCHELL

A community meeting in Ipswich in 2018 led to actions to tackle gangs and violence, following the death of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. Picture: GEMMA MITCHELL

GEMMA MITCHELL

Fresh cash has been pledged for communities in Ipswich to tackle the reasons why youngsters turn to drugs, gangs and knife crime - and you can present your ideas on what the town needs.

Alasdair Ross said it was about trying something different to get money into the community. Picture: LUCY TAYLORAlasdair Ross said it was about trying something different to get money into the community. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere revealed in the budget that £50,000 a year would be made permanent for the Racecourse estate, with plans for similar funds for two other areas of town.

Those funding opportunities will be available for community projects to bid for.

Now, a separate one-off pot of cash for £140,000 - called Seeds for Change - is to be approved next week which will specifically be for projects to keep youngsters from becoming involved in county lines or drug dealing, gang involvement and associated violence.

Councillor Alasdair Ross, portfolio holder for community protection, said: "We are really asking people for ideas. It doesn't need to be fully thought through yet, and we are also aiming at small groups too.

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said the authority had listened loud and clear to the concerns of communities. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILDavid Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said the authority had listened loud and clear to the concerns of communities. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

"If we think the idea is good we will make officers available to flesh it out as a proper project.

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"We just want to try something different as another way of getting money into the community."

The Seeds for Change pot has been made up of £120,000 of borough council cash from underspent budgets, and a further £20,000 from Suffolk County Council.

It will be a one-off fund available to the whole town, while those £50,000 pots will only be for the specific estates allocated to.

It comes as part of a commitment by the borough council to communities in Ipswich following the murder of teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens last summer.

It has already pledged to make iCards free for youngsters over the six week summer holidays, which will give access to dozens of sports activities, as well as gyms and swimming pools.

Borough council leader David Ellesmere said: "It's a really good process we have gone through. Given that we have got money allocated we do want to make sure it is spent.

"That came out loud and clear from the public meetings that happened in the wake of Tavis' murder."

Full details on how to submit ideas for the new Seeds for Change fund will be published after the pot has been agreed by the council's executive, which is recommended for approval next week.

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