I was recently commissioned by the Suffolk Community foundation to photograph a selection of charities and support groups and services around the county. The foundation’s purposes is to facilitate these various groups with grants and funds, helping them to continue there vital work supporting local communities, groups and individuals. From disable groups, homeless shelters, meal on-wheels services to a Lido swimming pool. I was truly amazed at the breath and scope of the foundations reach and it opened my eyes to something that I wasn’t too aware of in Suffolk.
There’s a large misconception that Suffolk is a rural idyll, dotted with sheep, sweeping countryside – home to two of England’s finest painters, Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable and beautiful country pubs which it certain is, but the other side of the county has similarities to many other towns and cities in the UK. Part of the commission was to visit the town of Lowestoft which until only a few years ago had a large thriving local industry, but as since fallen on hard times as a result of losing its fishing industry along with Shell Oils southern operational base being close ten years ago. Kirkley in Lowestoft, is one of the most deprived wards in the county ranking 173rd most deprived in England.
Lowestoft has now attracted European Union redevelopment funding which will focus its aims on developing the energy sector such as offshore windfarms and other renewable energy initiatives like tidal energy generators and wave power systems. I visited the Access community trust in the heart of Lowestoft, one of its many services they offer is a resettlement programme and provides an interim move-on facility for residents. Acting as a ‘stepping stone’ between supported accommodation and individuals returning to independent living.
They offer self-contained flats and provide a safe environment where individuals can live semi-independently, alongside the added benefit of support staff who are on hand to help out when needed. I met so many great people there, both volunteers workers and residents, all pulling together sharing, giving advice, guidance, and ultimately sharing a joke or three. These are a few of my favourite images from my journey around Suffolk for the foundation.