Seven new schemes confirmed with £3m pot of cash

Booking slots mean fewer queues for Suffolk's recycling centres. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Automated barriers with numberplate recognition will be installed at Suffolk's recycling centre rubbish tips - Credit: Archant

Virtual reality therapy, rubbish tip improvements and a new app promoting the Suffolk countryside are among seven new projects being funded by a one-off local government pot of cash.

Suffolk County Council has confirmed the new projects as part of the £3million Suffolk 2020 Fund, and includes:

  • Improvements to the booking system at the county's recycling centres and rubbish tips to include automatic numberplate recognition cameras and automated entry
  • Training and support for adults in rural areas at risk of digital isolation, including laptop loans
  • Creating a 'one stop shop' for youth support services
  • A new app and QR codes for people to discover Suffolk's countryside walks and outdoor activities
  • Automatic numberplate recognition speed cameras for problem roads
  • Virtual reality therapy for those living with dementia
  • Digital additions to community carers in rural areas

Work to begin setting up those schemes will start early in 2021.

Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks said it was not appropriate time to raise allowances. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks said the Suffolk 2020 Fund had helped kickstart projects which may ordinarily be overlooked

Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks said: "While 2020 will live long in the memory for many reasons, the launch of these projects as part of the Suffolk 2020 Fund offers some real optimism and effort to bring communities together, supporting projects that will provide social, environmental and economic benefits in years to come.

"I am very pleased that in amongst the great deal of work that is happening to fight the spread of Covid-19 across Suffolk this year that we have been able to ensure we continue our work to invest in these timely and incredibly worthy projects to improve the local environment and communities for Suffolk residents."

New electric vehicle charging points are one of the measures West Suffolk is pursuing to become carb

The Suffolk 2020 Fund is already being used to install scores of new EV charging points - Credit: BMSDC

The Suffolk 2020 Fund was established as a one-off £3m pot after last year's funding settlement from central government was better than previous years.

Mr Hicks said it meant the council could "kickstart some of the beneficial community projects that ordinarily may not have received as much focus or opportunity given the other huge, costly, frontline services that the county council is responsible for".

The latest schemes follow already-announced projects including funding for more roads to be designated 'quiet lanes' - those where motorists must observe additional caution, proposals for a 'healing woods' in memory of those in the county lost to the pandemic, and a raft of new electric vehicle charging points.