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Suffolk Coronavirus Community Fund awards £1million – and helps 100,000 people

PUBLISHED: 05:28 02 June 2020

Battisford Parish Council has helped provide food to those in need during the crisis  Picture: Battisford Parish Council

Battisford Parish Council has helped provide food to those in need during the crisis Picture: Battisford Parish Council

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The Suffolk Coronavirus Community fund has awarded £1million in grants to local charities and organisations in a bid to help re-build the charitable sector.

Annie Dickinson from Living Paintings  Picture: Annie DickinsonAnnie Dickinson from Living Paintings Picture: Annie Dickinson

The fund, set up by the Suffolk Community Foundation, has so far helped almost 100,000 people and “lesser sung heroes” through its 200 grants as it looks to support those in need during the lockdown.

The foundation said the generosity of donors shows why the county is deserving of its “caring county” title, but stressed efforts need to continue to ensure that local community projects and charities do not succumb to the economic pressure caused by the pandemic.

Stephen Singleton, chief executive of the foundation, said: “Suffolk has every reason to be proud of what has been achieved so far. This landmark moment of £1m reaching local causes from The Coronavirus Community Fund has only been possible because hundreds of local people have given what they can afford.

“No money in, no money out, it’s as simple as that and it’s the people of Suffolk that have given so generously to save lives. 
“We thank them from the bottom of our hearts for all their support thus far, but of course there are even more difficult times ahead.”

The Coddenham Response Group has rallied for people in the local community  Picture: Coddenham Response GroupThe Coddenham Response Group has rallied for people in the local community Picture: Coddenham Response Group

Research published by Community Action Suffolk earlier this month showed 47% of charities in the county face collapse without a significant increase in funding.

Most have been hardest hit by lockdown measures forcing the cancellation of their own and volunteer-organised fundraising events.

Mr Singleton added: “The voluntary sector in Suffolk continues to face the perfect storm. 
“Fundraising initiatives are next to impossible to deliver as lockdown restrictions continue, cutting off vital income at a time when we need is soaring and calls for their services are going through the roof.

“Our message now has to be thank you for all the support so far, but we must all continue to do all we can to support them.

Nicky Cleaver, from Battisford Parish Council  Picture: Nicky CleaverNicky Cleaver, from Battisford Parish Council Picture: Nicky Cleaver

“By making a donation to the Suffolk Coronavirus Community Fund you will allows us to continue to get support to projects that are delivering services where they are most needed.”

Donations to the fund can be made online, via telephone and by text donation. Visiting this website for more details.

Where just some of the money has gone:

Chief executive of Suffolk Community Foundation Stephen Singleton Picture: SLYVAINE POITAU PHOTOGRAPHY/ SUFFOLK COMMUNITY FOUNDATIONChief executive of Suffolk Community Foundation Stephen Singleton Picture: SLYVAINE POITAU PHOTOGRAPHY/ SUFFOLK COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

Battisford Parish Council – Funding has helped provide a food bank and delivery service for its elderly and vulnerable residents, who are self-isolating. As well as the elderly, the Parish Council has been contacted by families who have seen their income disappear asking for help to feed their children. Battisford is a very small rural village, with no public transport links

Nicky Cleaver, from the parish council, said: “The grant has allowed us to provide a lifeline in a very real and material way for those most vulnerable in society during these troubling times.”

Living Paintings Trust – The charity designs, creates and publishes tactile and audio books for blind and partially sighted people.

During the pandemic, Living Paintings aims to relieve the social and educational isolation of blind and partially sighted people of all ages by running a free of charge postal library service of ‘Touch to See’ books.

The funding has also helped the charity introduce its new ‘Relax & Chat’ service for their adult library members. Any adult library member feeling a lonely during this time can take advantage of this new service

Annie Dickinson, fundraising assistant, said: “The amount of books going out to our beneficiaries is quite overwhelming to see. This grant makes all the difference.”

Coddenham Response Group – This is a new group set up, with support from and operating under the Parish Council in Coddenham, in order to respond to quickly to the need of the above average elderly population, many of whom are living on their own.

Neil Scoresby, chair, said: “There has never been a more important time for us to look after our neighbours and our local community. In less than a week we launched a dedicated website, email and phone number providing help and support, issued a newsletter through every door and launched a ‘telephone tree’ support service for anyone struggling with loneliness or wellbeing issues. We are very grateful to Suffolk Community Foundation for this funding to help us deliver these vital services during this pandemic.”

Honington and Sapiston Village Hall – A local team of volunteers provide a community hub for identifying and supporting local residents. It started as a set up for a twice monthly offering of meals for the vulnerable in the communities of these rural areas of the county.

Since the outbreak, the band of volunteers increased to 30 where in the first few weeks of lockdown, 300 take-away lunches to those in need – these were either collected or delivered. These community made meals are a life-line for residents living alone, many of whom are elderly and have limited mobility. The team also recognised that more needed to be done, from prescription collection, essential food shopping, dog walking and pet care as well as ensuring that local footpaths were useable for those wanting to take exercise.

Linda Howe, secretary and trustee, said: “This grant has been invaluable to us in being able to provide essential support within the community and in particular to provide meals far more regularly than usual. Not only does the grant enable us to provide high quality food nicely presented but also to offer a delivery service, (recruiting in mainly younger people, eg students who are looking for work at this time).”


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