As part of the Suffolk Coastal Business & Community Awards, the public are invited to vote on the Enabling Communities Award, sponsored by Town 102 and The Beach radio stations. The finalists for this award were selected by the Enabling Communities team at Suffolk Coastal District Council.

Voting was open to the public until 26th August with nearly 900 votes being cast online. The winner was announced last night at the awards dinner at The Hangar, Kesgrave Hall.

The finalists were Station House Community Connections for their work on Wickham Market Train Station and Station House, the Parish Council team at Huntingfield, Ubbeston and Heveningham for the rebuilding of a beautiful community building, The Hub at Huntingfield, Dunwich Museum and Reading Rooms for safeguarding the contents of this charming museum and Yoxford Bowls Club for ensuring that the Club has a ground so they can keep training, playing, coaching and winning.

But it was Brook Farm Residents’ Association who walked away with this Award for 2016 and a cheque for £500. The hard work and thought put into their event ‘Sax Fest’ paid off as they gained the majority vote.

Saxmundham Music Festival held its 3rd event this year, a free community festival run by volunteers. They achieved their goal of expanding this year’s Festival to include Friday evening before the main music event on the Saturday. The project contributes to Suffolk’s Raising the Bar priorities, which aims to tackle levels of educational attainment and enhance social skills.  This event also engages with the newly commissioned Access Community Trust youth project.

The Friday evening included mature students who signed up for funded adult workshops and took on the feel of a light music evening, including Choir and a lighter music mix. Adult workshops commenced 8 weeks prior to the Festival and involved people with numerous instruments to develop local talent, leading to a performance at the additional free outdoor music night. Mature adult students were catered for tuition on guitar, drums, keyboards and vocals. The intention was to bring those together who have the talent, but do not have the connections or know how, for the very limited places to play music. Workshops were also dedicated to young people and adults disadvantaged by personal circumstances such as disability, ill health, poverty or isolation. Professional tutors were responsible for the children and adult workshops throughout the whole event.

Terry Barrow of the Brook Farm Residents Association and organiser of Sax Music Festival, said “What a feeling when I heard our name being called out. We had no idea! I now know we won by a good margin which is great. It makes such a difference, being backed by big players such as SCDC. Their grants and support create a real tipping point for what we can achieve.”