Woodbridge community chest set up

THOUSANDS of pounds could be made available for Suffolk villages in a bid to boost communities.A Community Chest is being set up as part of the Woodbridge and Melton Market Town Initiative, to give villages in the surrounding area funding for worthwhile projects.

By Jessica Nicholls

THOUSANDS of pounds could be made available for Suffolk villages in a bid to boost communities.

A community chest is being set up as part of the Woodbridge and Melton market town initiative, to give villages in the surrounding area funding for worthwhile

projects.

It is hoped that the cash boost may stimulate interest in the Initiative for the 27 surrounding parishes, which have so far showed little enthusiasm.

Mac Miles, Woodbridge town mayor and chairman of the MTI (market town initiative) partnership said that up to 40 per cent of the cost of a project in each parish could be met by the initiative.

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He said that the partnership had £250,000 to spend in the next three years and that although other things were also being done, some of the money would be earmarked for the parishes.

"We thought we would ask the parish council clerks of all the parishes that we cover whether they had any small projects. If we put £1,000 into something it could make all the difference," he said.

"I think it is very important

that the MTI is not just based around Woodbridge. We are

trying to do something for the

outlying parishes.

The partnership's priorities are improving leisure and tourism, supporting businesses, helping young people and developing an advice centre as well as boosting child care provision.

Other ideas from the MTI include a feasibility study for a town manager as well as looking into the possibility of a boat to ferry passengers across the Deben from Woodbridge to the National Heritage Sutton Hoo site.

A report on the MTI has been made by the East of England Development Agency, which has helped fund the initiative.

It pointed out that the partnership had found it difficult to get neighbouring parishes involved but suggested the community chest idea might work.