Leiston Together was established in 2017 by Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council and East Suffolk Council to work alongside local community representatives to focus on a wide range of key local priorities and opportunities for Leiston. Initially a three year programme of work, Leiston Together has now been extended to December 2021 with an action plan which focuses on 4 new priorities:
• Destination Leiston
• Leiston People
• Leiston means business
• Leiston’s future
The Leiston Together partnership aims to regenerate the town to improve the local amenity and lives of local people, businesses and community groups. The local agenda for change has been shaped by the aspiration and ambitions of local residents, businesses and community groups and partners.
Since its inception in January 2017, Leiston Together has applied its influence and resources to enable the delivery of four key priorities in the community of Leiston. Between 2017 and the end of 2019 the focus has been on the Town Centre Regeneration, Young People, Business and Enterprise and Health and Wellbeing.
Leiston Together works closely with the Leiston Community Land Trust, which is now a very well established Community Benefit Society with an active Trustee Board and over 200 members, to help regenerate and revive Leiston’s High Street.
With the help from the East Suffolk Council 3 empty retail properties were purchased and re-designed to help improve the appearance and retail offered in the high street. This has provided a venue for the Community Land Trust to provide a place for people to see what the Town Regeneration plan looks like and talk to members of the CLT to find out more details or have their questions answered.
This ambitious vision for the new Town Centre of Leiston will work around a number of ‘zones’ being developed and refined as well as looking at the need to provide affordable homes for locals. The work of the CLT has been assisted by a comprehensive Housing Needs Survey conducted in 2018/19. For more information about this Town Regeneration please head to the Community Land Trust page.
Provision for Young Adults
Leiston Together wants to improve the life opportunities and meet the needs of young adults in particular by improving the opportunities for further education, training and encouraging young people in their future careers. In 2018 Leiston opened ‘Suffolk New College on the Coast,’ which provides a local campus for post 16 courses within the town.
Assisted by EDF Energy, Leiston Together and Alde Valley Academy have been able to buy a new minibus to provide improved transport solutions to enable young people to access learning and training opportunities.
Leiston Together is also working with the Green Light Trust and Access Community Trust and Inspire Suffolk to help ensure the emotional well-being of students, as well as helping young people to access new career and work opportunities.
Leiston Together recognise that it is important to support businesses within Leiston as these businesses help bring people into the town as well as serving the needs of the community.
The relaunch of the Leiston Business Association in October 2018 as part of East Suffolk Means Business Festival, provided an opportunity for businesses to come together to help ensure the vitality of the high street, and to support the local business community and visitors.
Alongside the Business Association, the Leiston Events Group has organised many events that help draw people into the town. Their events are always held close to the centre of town to help encourage people into the local shops.
Leiston Together were successful in a funding bid to the Coastal Revival Funding for a new Information Point in Leiston Film Theatre. This Visitor Information Point ‘VIP’ plays an important role to help bring in tourists to the town and get them to explore Leiston, it’s heritage and its assets. To help support the Information Point a new Leiston Pocket Guide was also created by Leiston Together which not only guides people around Leiston but also offers them some interesting historical facts about the town.
Health and Well-being
Health and Wellbeing is important to everyone and where you live can have a massive impact on your heath. Leiston Together is keen to help facilitate projects that ensure that people are getting the help and support they need as well as ensuring that people understand the need to look after themselves while they are young and fit to help take the strain off the NHS. Leiston Together successfully launched a Social Prescribing Project: Leiston Links, which has now been launched as Connect for Health in Leiston.
Other local projects include the Leiston Dementia Project; Leiston Good Neighbour Scheme; support to the Wardens Trust and the launch of Sizewell Park Run in August 2018, which has helped Leiston Surgery become one of the first Park Run Practices nationally.
That’s Not All…
Not only does Leiston Together work hard to help bring about the changes mentioned above it is also able to offer a wide range of help and coordination of other projects in the IP16 area. This includes helping to secure funds for the CLT, the Dementia Project, the Housing Needs Survey and for the brand new Visitors Information Point, located within the Leiston Film Theatre which provides information for both local residents and tourists in the town.
Leiston Together also helped to organised events which promoted Leiston, these include a four week community focused Pop Up Event – ‘Community Matters’ as well as helping to facilitate two annual Suffolk Day events hosted by the Leiston Long Shop Museum. Through all the hard work Leiston Together has done so far it has ensured a greater connection between the local community and local groups.
For further information please contact Elspeth Gibson, Leiston Together Change Manager: Elspeth.firstname.lastname@example.org