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County’s key influencers debate rural poverty at Flourish Summit

Suffolk’s leaders in business, public and voluntary sectors were brought together on Tuesday 11th October to debate and discuss the county’s growing issues of rural poverty.


Seckford Foundation Chairman Roger Finbow at the ‘Pledge Wall’

The Flourish Summit was organised by the Seckford Foundation in partnership with Suffolk Community Foundation, Suffolk Agricultural Association and Community Action Suffolk. The four voluntary organisations were brought together as a partnership with the Lord-Lieutenant for Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, as part of a project to shine a light on rural issues in the county.

Lady Euston said: “The Flourish Summit saw one of the greatest gatherings of local leaders, all seeking to address the stark reality of rural deprivation in Suffolk. We are talking not only about financial poverty, but a lack of access to services too. Everyone who assembled at the Summit has the capacity, experience and influence to individually make change happen, and they have all risen to the challenge. It makes me very proud as Lord-Lieutenant that this great Summit has taken place here in Suffolk, and I have high hopes that together we will bring about real change.”

The Flourish Summit, held at Trinity Park, was chaired by Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, chair of Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust, and facilitated by Bill Turnbull who wanted to offer his support as a newcomer to Suffolk since retiring from BBC Breakfast earlier this year. Over 150 delegates attended from various organisations across the county, including Suffolk Police, Age UK Suffolk and West Suffolk College. As a result, a group of delegates have formed an Advisory Council to assist the ongoing work of the project: including Deborah Cadman, CEO of Suffolk County Council; Mark Pendlington, Chair of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership; and Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner.

Melanie Chew, Development Director and Flourish Summit event organiser at the Seckford Foundation, said: “The Summit was organised as an action-orientated event, with a real aim to identify solutions that can be implemented by working in partnership with other organisations. Delegates have each made a pledge on how they’re going to help – it is great to see everyone working collaboratively to tackle our county’s biggest issues.”

For more information about the Flourish Summit and the Rural Needs project visit