The emergency fund supporting Suffolk’s community response to the COVID-19 crisis has raised nearly £1million in a month.

Almost 60,000 vulnerable people have been given direct support as a result, including an estimated 30,000 who have received emergency food support. Whilst these figures are testament to the generosity and kindness of our donors, more help is urgently needed to cope with surging demand. Of the £935,000 raised, £520,000 has already been distributed to over 100 Suffolk charities. Dozens more requests worth over £250,000 are being processed.

Getting food to vulnerable people has been a key area, but services supporting mental and physical health and those suffering domestic abuse have seen increasing demand, along with those needing financial and legal advice due to dramatic changes in their circumstances.

 
Every pound given will immediately play a vital role in saving and rebuilding local lives and it’s so important that we thank everyone who has supported the crisis appeal so far. But we will need to raise considerably more money in Suffolk to support this essential work. In most cases, whilst demands on the their services have increased, fundraising activities of local charities and community groups have been stopped in their tracks by the virus, but by giving centrally to this Suffolk appeal people are helping to provide a co-ordinated and well targeted  approach to tackling some of this funding gap and addressing local needs as effectively and fairly as possible.
 
 
Stephen Singleton

Chief Executive, Suffolk Community Foundation

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.

This figure raised includes £164,000 contributed by the National Emergencies Trust central appeal, but the rest has been raised locally.

There are over 5,000 charities and community groups in Suffolk, and they are quite simply the glue that hold all these efforts together and keep our fight against the Coronavirus moving forward. 

Charities that have received grants from the fund 

Citizen’s Advice

Funds from the Coronavirus Appeal have already assisted all 8 citizen’s advice branches in Suffolk to equip their volunteers with the essential technology to continue providing essential advice and support to vulnerable people from home.

Since lockdown, our team of volunteers have taken huge numbers of phone calls from clients desperate to find out what their rights are at work and whether they can claim benefits to ensure any income into their households. We are bracing ourselves as we know that beyond lockdown we will be really stretched to help households get back on an even keel: financially, sorting housing issues, accessing benefits and getting back to work. It is not going to be simple or quick. This pandemic will have lasting consequences for the most vulnerable and those households who never thought they were in that category.

 
 
Nelleke van Helfteren

Ipswich Citizen's Advice

Aspect Living 
 
This charity provides a meals on wheels service in the county. Tess Aristodemou, Chief Executive, explained, ‘our customer base has increased by 90 people per day in the last 2 weeks and we are receiving constant referrals for our service from hospital discharge to next of kin needing our support.
 
We are a lot more than just a hot meal service, we always complete a health and wellbeing check every customer visit. We are often the daily the eyes and ears for families as their loved ones self-isolate.’

How you can help

• You can donate to the Suffolk Coronavirus Community Fund here.

• You can call the giving hotline on 01473 786911, or send a text donation to 70085.

• Funding is available to help local neighbourhood schemes, community groups and charities who are supporting people through this crisis and as we seek to rebuild local lives. Visit www.suffolkcf.org.uk/grants/suffolk-coronavirus-community-fund

• If you need urgent help, call Suffolk’s ‘Home, But Not Alone’ helpline on 0800 876 6926. It is open 9am to 5pm, every day.

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