On 27 February 2017, SOS converted to a Charitable Community Benefit Society called the Southwold and Waveney Valley Regeneration Society Ltd (SouthGen), which captures our vision.
No man is an island onto himself. The same can be said for any community. In Suffolk, advantage and disadvantage sit side by side.
Southwold and Reydon are a microcosm of this trend, which is getting worse. There are pockets of deprivation in Southwold and Reydon. Travel north and west to Kessingland, Lowestoft, and Beccles, and the pockets widen.
Did you know that Waveney District has the lowest social mobility in England and Wales? Southwold is an employment centre but nearly 60% of jobs are directly linked to tourism and the majority are low paid, part time or seasonal. Many of the people working in town are young; they live with family in less expensive areas on the coast or inland.
The cost of commuting to Southwold by car (the only realistic option) reduces the value of already low wages. Yet living in Southwold is not an option.
100 years ago, Southwold was one of the most progressive boroughs in the country. It built over 170 social houses for working people. There are only 88 left.
In 1905, the first social housing in Southwold was opened on St Edmunds Road just around the corner from the newly built hospital. Many of these dwellings are now holiday lets.
SouthGen’s Constitution is based on Model Rules for Community Benefit Societies, created by the Plunkett Foundation and approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the regulatory body responsible for community benefit societies. The Plunkett Foundation supports local communities who want to buy local businesses and run them for the benefit of their communities.