Felixstowe Forward gets cash extension to promote town's economy
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Funding for a partnership promoting economic growth and events in Felixstowe has been extended until the end of December this year.
The Felixstowe Forward partnership brings East Suffolk Council and Felixstowe Town Council together with organisations such as the Port of Felixstowe and Chamber of Commerce to work on economic growth projects, promote the town as a visitor destination, showcase the town's high street, protect heritage elements and encourage cultural activities.
Funding from the two councils is due to cease in March 2021, but East Suffolk Council's cabinet gave the green light this week for cash to continue until the end of the calendar year - an extra £134,800 - over which time Felixstowe Forward will undergo a transition period so its responsibilities will be carried out by new or existing bodies from January 2022.
A full study of how that will work is being carried out this summer in time for the new year.
Conservative leader at East Suffolk Council, Steve Gallant, who represents Eastern Felixstowe, said: "I have nothing but admiration for the work of Felixstowe Forward as an enabling project that has taken forward a number of initiatives right across the peninsula which has allowed us to get us to a position where we can transition from a controlling council base to an enabling base.
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"For us to not to continue to fund this through this last period of its transition as it hands power over of those various elements to other organisations would be foolhardy."
The extension is being funded from New Homes Bonus cash.
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Groups such as the Landguard Partnership and the council's own Felixstowe Peninsula community partnership are among those expected to take responsibility of some of Felixstowe Forward's work from 2022.
The project was formed in 2015 with the intention of being a time-limited body that enables community and economic development schemes.
Among its achievements have been securing £168,000 in external funding, supporting the business improvement district (BID) proposals, co-ordinating dementia friendly town efforts and involvement in the seafront gardens revamp.
Labour councillor Mike Deacon, Western Felixstowe ward member, said he was "very happy [cabinet] is allowing the work to continue," and added: "The work of Felixstowe Forward has been immense over the last few years, particularly under their director of change Helen Greengrass. There has been so much difference made for our town under her leadership."