Ipswich Community Media look to support a range of vulnerable people in one of the most deprived wards in the country, and the most deprived wards in Suffolk. Westgate was rated among Suffolk’s most deprived areas last year and has the county’s highest BAME population. It is an area that has been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 crisis because of its deprivation – new data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals that the Westgate area of Ipswich had the highest percentage of deaths caused by coronavirus in the whole county between the start of March through to April.
Funding that this group has received from Suffolk Community Foundation has helped pay for the IT Support and the huge staff safeguarding effort which goes into supporting our participants through regular phone calls, texts, video conferencing and online lessons. The team have also been compiling a comprehensive list of resources and guidance materials that are increasingly becoming available to support beneficiaries during this time. This pastoral care has helped them secure all kinds of assistance from School Meal Vouchers, to benefits, to emergency food deliveries, to providing health information around pregnancy and Covid-19 for those most in need. Being able to provide this level of support has made a huge difference to the lives of many of their participants.
The funding has also meant that they have been able to loan out IT equipment to those that are on the wrong side of the digital divide – from disadvantaged young people who are struggling during lockdown to keep up with school work, to migrants who want to continue learning the language but have no digital means to do so. With this support, their tutors and staff have also been able to provide ongoing learning and support.
Suffolk Community Foundation and everyone who has contributed to the Covid-19 Emergency Fund have been absolutely amazing! We could not have continued with our front line work if this help and support had not been available. We are truly grateful, and so impressed with the way that the Foundation has stepped up to the plate and done it so quickly. There is a positive side to this horrendous situation, and that is of ‘community spirit’ and the can-do attitude of so many in the voluntary sector embody, and which the Foundation has done so much to nurture in these unprecedented times. Everyone in this effort will be able to look back on this time with pride.