Suffolk’s coronavirus emergency fund nears £400k in just three weeks
PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:21 13 April 2020
An emergency fund for Suffolk’s response to the coronavirus crisis has raised nearly £400,000 in just three weeks – but the need for support still grows.
The Suffolk Coronavirus Community Fund has reached £370,000 – with £337,000 already distributed at “lightning speed” to help an estimated 35,000 vulnerable people.
However, with the demand for support and services growing, a fresh plea is made today for individuals or businesses to make a contribution if they can.
On top of the £370,000, the community effort in Suffolk has also been boosted by a huge donation from Vestey Food Group of over £120,000 of supplies to re-fill the shelves of local foodbanks.
The Community Fund was launched only a month ago by Suffolk Community Foundation (SCF) in partnership with the National Emergencies Trust.
Stephen Singleton, chief executive of SCF, said: “We have been deeply moved to see Suffolk already coming together to help us raise £370,000 raised and our team and the voluntary sector as a whole are working night and day to make this money work on the ground supporting vulnerable Suffolk people.”
He said the fund was helping many charities and voluntary groups that have seen their own fundraising activities wiped out by the lockdown restrictions.
He added: “In addition to the enormous increase in demand for emergency food provision, we are seeing significant rises in the need to support those experiencing social isolation resulting in mental and physical health challenges, families in crisis with unemployment, rising dept and critical social challenges like domestic violence.
“But the message to Suffolk is that we need many more people to give what they can afford to keep the work we have started moving forward and keeping up with demand. Reaching and helping 35,000 is a wonderful start.”
The fund is supported by leading Suffolk organisations including Community Action Suffolk, Suffolk Association of Local Councils, East Anglian Daily Times, Suffolk County Council, district and borough councils.
• Donations can be made online via www.suffolkcf.org.uk, by telephone donation by calling the giving hotline on 01473 786911 or make a text donation to 70085. To give £5 quote 5SuffolkCrisis, £10 quote 10SuffolkCrisis or £20 quote 20SuffolkCrisis. Texts cost the donation you have made plus one standard rate message.
Some of those who have been supported by the fund:
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The 100-strong volunteer team has adapted its own service and boosted the resources of other local community groups.
They are picking up the demand for a vital Meals on Wheels service, supporting prescription deliveries and shopping needs for those in isolation. The team is also creating ‘Boredom Boxes’ containing magazines, crafts, films and books to support the physical and mental wellbeing of local people experiencing isolation.
Suffolk Parent Carer Network
The funding has allowed the team from the organisation to distribute 1,000 vital Family Support Boxes to families across the county for children and young people with a range of additional needs including ASD, ADHD, learning difficulties, mental health issues.
The funding has also enabled the set-up of a helpline for parents and carers to call.
Anne Humphreys, co-chair at SPCN said: “We are so grateful for this funding at this time. Now is the time to give to the central fund to support the people of Suffolk. They need us and we can only do this together.”
Wardens Charitable Trust
Wardens Trust is normally situated in a large Hall on the Suffolk coast, near Leiston. It offers services to children and adults with mental and/or physical disabilities. During this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, their hall may be closed but they continue to help the local community, in partnership with others, as part of a Good Neighbourhood Scheme.
They help identify those who need support, offer a telephone befriending service, hospital and other transport services, drug prescription delivery services and shopping. A particular need for some of the most severely disabled will be shopping for essentials and a regular pre-cooked meal service.
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