Delight as town council picks up top accolade

Sudbury Town Council named council of the year for their work with elderly residents. ANL-141119-075427009
Sudbury Town Council named council of the year for their work with elderly residents. ANL-141119-075427009

The authority was named Suffolk Council of the Year at the Suffolk Association of Local Councils’ annual meeting on Wednesday for the services and facilities it provides for older people.

Sudbury mayor Robert Spivey said he was “very pleased and surprised” at the award.

The council’s involvement with the elderly includes hosting an annual Christmas party at the Delphi centre, where 200 residents are given a free lunch and entertainment ever year.

It also embraces the long-running tradition of presenting the elderly with vouchers to spend on clothes.

This happens twice a year, including on Christmas Day, when residents are invited to the town hall for a drink, before being presented with their voucher.

Now in its 346th year, the tradition dates back to when residents were given an overcoat.

“It’s quite exceptional,” said Mr Spivey. “I’ve not come across it elsewhere.”

The council was praised for the services it ran and in alerting residents of the facilities and organisations available to them.

“It’s very important,” said Mr Spivey. “I do find that people who are disabled or that little bit older still want to do things younger people do.

“Because they are less mobile, it’s easy for them to be ignored or not to go out.

“It’s important to go and say hello every so often.”

For Mr Spivey, who makes regular trips to the town’s residential homes, home visits are one of the most important aspects of elderly care in the community.

He said: “When you go along, people just perk up. ‘The mayor has come to see me’, they say. It just brightens up their day for a short while.”

Town councillor Jan Osborne, who collected the award with her husband, Adrian, said she was proud to pick up the trophy in front of other councils from across the county.

“Walking up there was amazing,” she said. “I thought ‘yes, this is what Sudbury is all about’.

“Last year, we were runners up for the young people award so it shows we must be doing something right.”