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Direct Line donates £100,000 to Ipswich homeless during coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 April 2020

Direct Line in Ipswich has donated £100,000 to support the homeless in the town during the coronavirus pandemic.  Picture: ARCHANT

Direct Line in Ipswich has donated £100,000 to support the homeless in the town during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

An insurance firm with a base in Ipswich has donated £100,000 to provide essentials for homeless people in the town during the coronavirus crisis.

Penny James, Direct Line Group chief executive, said it was down to everyone to do their bit to help during the coronavirus, after the firm donated �100,000 to supporting the homeless in Ipswich. Picture: DIRECT LINE GROUP/NICK STRUGNELLPenny James, Direct Line Group chief executive, said it was down to everyone to do their bit to help during the coronavirus, after the firm donated �100,000 to supporting the homeless in Ipswich. Picture: DIRECT LINE GROUP/NICK STRUGNELL

The company, which has an office in Friars Street, donated the six figure sum from its community fund this week to Ipswich Borough Council to be used specifically for the town’s homeless.

MORE: Ipswich Borough Council allocates £150,000 for homeless accommodation during coronavirus

The council confirmed it would be using the money to buy dozens of ‘starter packs’ for families and individuals moving into temporary accommodation without supplies.

Penny James, Direct Line Group chief executive said: “We’re delighted we can support people in Ipswich who are facing emergency situations.

“It’s exactly why we set our community fund up in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

Ipswich Borough councillor Neil MacDonald, housing portfolio-holder, said the money would be spent wisely. Picture: IBCIpswich Borough councillor Neil MacDonald, housing portfolio-holder, said the money would be spent wisely. Picture: IBC

“These are unprecedented times and it’s down to all of us to make a difference where we can.”

Last month the government handed Ipswich Borough Council £5,000 to help rough sleepers who needed to self-isolate, before the council’s chief executive Russell Williams rubber-stamped a £150,000 fund to provide hotel accommodation for 12 weeks.

MORE: Follow the latest updates on the Suffolk Coronavirus Facebook page

According to the council, homeless households and rough sleepers are among those at highest risk, with the fund helping secure those people a safe place to stay.

The £100,000 from Direct Line will be used to fund starter kits for those people, which will include bedding, crockery, saucepans, nappies, toiletries, electrical goods, drawing books for those with children, food and shopping vouchers.

The council confirmed those sleeping rough will be offered a change of clothes or vouchers too.

Councillor Neil MacDonald, housing portfolio-holder at the council said: “This is a wonderful donation from Direct Line Group.

“The money will enable us to support some of the most vulnerable people in Ipswich by giving them some basic goods when they arrive in temporary accommodation.

“These are supplies most of us take for granted but will make all the difference to people who have nothing or very little.

MORE: How Ipswich Borough Council is redeploying staff during COVID-19 crisis

“I want to thank the company for selecting Ipswich for their charitable funding – I can assure them and everyone it will be money well spent.”

The company is closing its Ipswich office in 2022 as part of nationwide cutbacks, but confirmed staff would be given 12 months notice of the closure date.

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