Paddy Bishopp gives insightful speech about the Food & Drink Fund


Having sat on the Development Board at Suffolk Community Foundation for over two years and having been heavily involved in Suffolk’s food and drink industry for the past 15 years, Chairman of the Food & Drink Fund Paddy Bishopp knows all too well about the needs of our great county, and the work that’s needed to make a difference.

At the Foundation’s recent Annual Review, Paddy gave an insightful and touching speech, sharing his personal seasons for becoming involved with the fund, the shocking areas of deprivation across many affluent parts of Suffolk, and the inspiring work being done in the local area by charities and individuals to combat the ongoing issues.

Read some of the highlights here…

Why a Food and Drink Fund? To me, the answer is very simple. As a large rural county, food, drink and agriculture are important to Suffolk, with agriculture employing over 10,000 people, and food and drink processing employing a further 9,000. You will all know the high quality of our producers and the fact that we are in the top 5 foodie counties…

Sitting side by side to this though are people from many different walks of life, who do not get to enjoy this side of our county. The majority of those working in the industry will be touched by people who are not as fortunate as them, people with real issues, serious issues. I am not just talking about those below the poverty line who rely on our food banks (and I will question how many in this county can even say where these foodbanks are), I am talking about those who live in rural areas and suffer from loneliness - especially the elderly, I am talking about those with mental health and wellbeing issues who live in all of our communities. I am talking about those who have never been educated about the importance of healthy eating and how it can be done on a budget. I am talking about those alienated through language and cultural barriers. All issues found in Suffolk.

Woodbridge, a place a lot of people will know for its great restaurants and beautiful river walks, has pockets of deprivation amongst the poorest in the country based on the number of children who cannot afford school meals. People always show a look of disbelief, what in Woodbridge, it can’t be possible. Well it is. The government support school meals but forget an important fact, that child is not in school for over 8 weeks a year, or at weekends. They go hungry and when they eat, they eat unhealthily. This is just one example of the importance of the fund’s work in supporting foodbanks.

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Thanks to our founding funders, we have already had donations of £80,000, and distributed over £14,000 in our first round of grant making. But what really hit home to the committee was the diversity of the projects that successfully applied.

Access Community Trust support people to overcome issues and barriers that prevent them from living independently. The fund supported their Sam’s Coffee House Project.

ActivLives who provide a wide range of community led activities for the vulnerable, lonely and isolated, of all ages, and we proudly supported their lunch club.

Rural Coffee Caravan visits rural locations with no bus service or community centre to help bring people together, and we supported their Meet up Mondays project.

Food and Drink is not just there to be enjoyed, it is not just fuel for life, it is so much more important. It helps bring people together and support those less fortunate. We need to celebrate the food and drink of Suffolk but we also need to use it to make a difference.

Please talk to us, please join us and please, please spread the word. 

Connect the causes that matter to the people that care and give to what you love.

Thank you,



You can discover the other diverse projects that the grants went to here.

If you are interested in becoming involved with the Food & Drink Fund, please contact Suffolk Community Foundation’s Philanthropy Coordinator Sally Ledger on or call the office on 01473 602 602.

Harriet Beckwith