Work has started on the £20m project to transform Suffolk’s Record Office service. The Hold project is a partnership between Suffolk County Council and the University and will see a new flagship heritage facility located close to the Ipswich Waterfront. Cllr Paul West, Cabinet Member at Suffolk County Council with responsibility for Heritage said “the transformed Record Office Service will be more than just a new building. Plans to actively engage a greater number of Suffolk residents in the county’s rich past will be at the heart of the new service”.
The service will be audience focussed and reach out to all parts of Suffolk through activity and digital programmes. Young people and those people living with dementia will be two groups that the service will aim to engage with.
The new building which will be open to the public in 2020 will hold 86% of the county’s vulnerable archive material. The current Ipswich Record Office in Gatacre Road will close and move its service to the new building. The new service will maintain a record office service in a building in both Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.
Above is SRO’s oldest exhibit: Henry I’s charter to the monks of Eye Priory.
We all see rough sleepers around Ipswich and some of you may wonder what is being done to help them.
You may remember back in August our Prime Minister Theresa May, promised £100 million of government funding to tackle rough sleeping. She said, “Nobody should have to sleep rough, and that’s why we must do all we can to help the most vulnerable in our society to get the support they need.” We thought you might like to hear how some of this money is being spent in the Ipswich area.
The Conservative government granted £986,500 to Ipswich Borough Council to tackle the issues surrounding homelessness, this is being spent in the following ways:
Firstly, there has been an increase in the number of emergency beds provided. This means if those sleeping on the streets wish for a bed for the night more are available.
However, the reasons why people are sleeping on the streets are complex and a number of interventions are in place to help support rough sleepers into long term solutions. Rough sleeper outreach workers go out and meet people who need help where they are. These outreach workers can support with many problems. In addition to this a special Mental Health Link worker is provided who can help those rough sleepers who suffer with mental health difficulties and two drug and alcohol outreach workers, for those who have addiction issues.
According to Ipswich Borough Council’s official count the number of rough sleepers in Ipswich is falling since funding has come into the town. In the first measurable period, the Conservative government’s funded programmes have helped over 50% of those they have worked with move into some form of accommodation. The programmes continue but this is a very good start.
If you are worried about someone sleeping rough, send an alert to StreetLink by visiting www.streetlink.org.uk or call 0300 500 0914
When the first British women gained the right to vote in February 1918 celebrations were very muted because the Great War was still raging. Sylvia Pankhurst in her book The Suffragette Movement said: “the sorrows of the world conflict precluded jubilations”
So a century later we should celebrate the triumph as fully as we can. However women were not given the vote on the same terms as men until a decade after the act was passed – on 2nd July 1928 the Second Representation of the People Act was passed into law. In a cruel twist of fate, Emmeline Pankhurst the leader of the militant WSPU died on the 14th June 1928 just 18 days before equal suffrage rights were granted.
One victory led to another. The bar to women running for parliament was quickly removed, and the first female MP was elected that year (though, as an Irish republican, Constance Countess Markievicz chose not to join the Commons). The next year, Nancy Lady Astor was the first woman to take her seat in parliament.
Yet progress for women has often felt painfully slow. In 1982 when Harriet Harman was elected there were still only 19 female MPs. The 2017 election was the first time more than 200 women were elected, 208 out of 650 seats. If you speak to female MPs many worry about the murder of Jo Cox, the climate of vitriol on social media, sexual harassment and it is still so hard to balance child caring responsibilities with a political career hence women who have no children are often over-represented at the top.
Here in Ipswich Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices are a group of women’s organisations who have come together to plan a Festival on the 6th October at Suffolk University and are organising EqualiTeas as part of the events leading up to the festival. The festival will highlight and provide women with an opportunity to have access to local politics and democracy and to encourage women to get involved and most importantly to register to vote.
So true to the spirit of the suffragettes – who came from all kinds of political traditions – let us celebrate 100 years of the suffragette movement and all that achieved.