Suffolk Community Foundation’s first Hidden Needs Report challenged assumptions which stereotyped Suffolk as a generally prosperous part of the UK. It contested popular notions that deprivation and disadvantage were problems of inner city areas and large housing estates.

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 people. Further potential for growth is being driven by national demand for high-quality, locally sourced food and drink. 

With a number of themed funds already an integral part of the Foundation’s grantmaking capabilities, the Food and Drink Fund plays a vital role in helping to address local needs throughout Suffolk.


Current landscape

The Foundation’s Hidden Needs Report identified that over 83,000 people in Suffolk live at the most minimal standard provided by welfare benefits. This represents 12 % of the county’s population and includes nearly 20,000 children and 25,000 older people. Deprivation however goes beyond income and includes other forms of disadvantage, and although on average Suffolk has lower rates of multiple deprivation than England, it includes some of the country’s most deprived neighbourhoods. Over 14% of neighbourhoods in Ipswich and 12% in Waveney are ranked among the most deprived 10% in England.

According to the Charity Commission – December 2017, there are over 168,000 charities in the UK and the largest of these (6.8%) receive 90% of all charitable donations. Please consider supporting your local charities.



The aim of the Food and Drink Fund is to support charitable activities addressing local needs, particularly those where there is a direct link with food and drink. The Fund is supporting charities, voluntary and community groups throughout Suffolk through a small grants programme. Grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 are awarded.