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East Suffolk’s Community Response to Covid-19

A celebration of our local heroes


Covid-19 has taken a terrible toll on the country, but it has also brought out the very best in our communities and highlighted the incredible lengths that people are willing to go to, to help others who are vulnerable, lonely and/or isolated during this time. East Suffolk’s response to the crisis has been nothing short of amazing and I for one am truly grateful to the people, organisations and businesses who have dedicated their time and resources to support their communities – delivering food and medicines to vulnerable people, manufacturing PPE to carers, making phone calls to isolated residents and much more. We have created this unique eBook to celebrate each and every one of these unsung heroes by telling some of their stories and highlighting some of their amazing achievements. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do. Cllr Steve Gallant, Leader of East Suffolk Council

Beccles Parish Saint Michael’s and Saint Luke’s Nominated by: Rich Henderson Volunteers have been working hard, going above and beyond to serve and support the community in Beccles during the lockdown, helping individuals of all ages. This includes providing a Lunch Club delivery service, School Uniform Bank and Foodbank teams.

These yellow hearts represent the people of Beccles and surrounding areas whoi have sadly, lost their lives to Coronavirus.

‘‘Volunteers have been working hard,

going above and beyond to serve ”

The Lunch Club service has helped a wide range of individuals

Leon Fox Nominated by: Samantha Paolantonio Leon has supported hundreds of children and families in Lowestoft since the start of lockdown by taking storytelling to a whole new level and out on locations across Suffolk. He has developed storytelling characters and dresses up to capture the mind of the children at his school and beyond, posting stories online every day in time for the children’s bedtime stories – entertaining children and their parents alike! Leon is a real-life superhero – a wonderful man and nursery nurse/teaching assistant who has given his pupils and their families some routine, much comfort, distraction and much more. He has offered them fun and laughter and the safety of routines and familiarity during a very uncertain time – giving them hope and distraction, reducing their anxiety and helping their mental health.

Bryony Peall Nominated by: Sam Mcmullan

Super hero Leon

Bryony is an integrated part of IP17 and has been delivering prescription drugs to shielding people in Saxmundham, Kelsale, Benhall and Sternfield since Covid-19 started.

East Suffolk PPE Nominated by: Elizabeth Shakespeare and Sian Hart East Suffolk PPE initially started with Andy Gardner and John White making face shields for an Ipswich group, using the CNC cutting facilities at Newton Commercial in Leiston. That association stopped fairly early on but they continued to match up with other shield making businesses and also extended to face masks by forming groups of home sewers to make face masks, scrubs hats, crocheted hears, scrubs bags etc, delivering PPE equipment to thousands of NHS key workers.

A selection of the PPE equipment made for the NHS and key workers

Halesworth Volunteer Centre Nominated by: Karen Austin and Sarah Warne The centre has been supporting people in Halesworth and the surrounding areas with support from the town and parish councils. This has included doing over 1,750 shopping trips, prescription runs, telephone calls and welfare checks and running a support group which is socially distanced and have been a great support to local people. The centre also arranged for over 100 plants (donated by a local nursery) to be delivered to isolated people in the community to help keep their spirits up. The centre continues to offer support to volunteers and have also set up a 24 hours support line for advice, information and emotional support.

Emma Healey at Halesworth Volunteer Centre Nominated by: Claire Westwood-Deamer Emma went the extra mile during lockdown for Claire and her husband who had to shield, helping them feel safe. She dropped medication off on her way home from work, got them emergency milk when they ran out and generally made their lives easier. “We couldn’t have managed without her and her team of volunteers”, they say.

Emma with some of the Halesworth volunteers

IP17GNS Nominated by: Diana Eastman

‘‘The centre also arranged for over

100 plants (donated by a local nursery) to be delivered to isolated people in the community to help keep their spirits up ”

IP17GNS is a charity run by volunteers which has been supporting people in Saxmundham, Kelsale, Benhall and Sternfield through the lockdown and beyond. So far, the volunteers have been delivering food and frozen ready meals, provided emergency food parcels, collected and delivered prescriptions and acted as phone buddies in over 2200 cases. In June, the charity was awarded a ‘Making a Difference’ Award by BBC Radio Suffolk’s Mark Murphy.

Sharon Cuthbert Nominated by: Elspeth Gibson Sharon stepped up to professionally lead volunteers at the Leiston Good Neighbour Scheme (GNSIP16). Although the group was set up prior to Covid-19, the number of referrals tripled during lockdown with multiple requests for support from vulnerable individuals living in Leiston. Sharon’s input was 24/7 over a critical period, deploying volunteers which was invaluable during this challenging time. In total, over 250 individual actions of support has taken place.

Volunteers assisting Communities Team with Covid-19 response Nominated by: Rachel Tucker The Communities Team have been providing essential support to people who are shielding, self-isolating or in hardship since 6 April. To date, the team has dealt with 1,274 referrals, which has included shopping, collecting/delivering prescriptions, taking samples and hearing aids to JPH, making befriending calls, escorting on hospital visits, delivering food parcels, including collections and deliveries for foodbanks, assistance with Covid-19 tests, pet transport, dog walking, identifying social isolation, helping with gas and electricity top ups as well as welfare and reassurance checks. During the busiest time, the team took up to 40 calls a day.

Pakefield Community Group Nominated by: Peter Byatt The group set up a helpline in the first few days of lockdown to provide support to vulnerable residents in Pakefield, including help with shopping, collecting prescriptions, signposting to other organisations, posting useful information on their Facebook page and generally providing moral support. All roads in Pakefield were leafletted with phone, email and Facebook contact details and approx. 150 residents used their services. The group existed before lockdown and will continue to be active with other Pakefield matters.

John Ward Pakefield Community Group Nominated by: Rachel Tucker, Trudie Jackson and Rachel Pakefield Community Group started as a ward community group, but as a result of Covid-19 covered the vast majority of the Pakefield ward with an estimated 800 referrals. John organised volunteers to assist residents in Pakefield with their shopping, collection of medicines and running errands.

AGNES - The Aldeburgh Good Neighbours Scheme

Article printed in Aldeburgh Gazette 10th July 2020

Nominated by: Valerie Simper


AGNES have helped people in Aldeburgh for just over 10 years and stepped in to help vulnerable residents who were forced to self-isolate during lockdown. Volunteers helped with their shopping, collecting prescriptions and sometimes a chat – some on a weekly basis. Some of the residents they have supported have no family close by, and those families were relieved to know that help was available for their elderly relatives.


helped with their shopping, collecting prescriptions and sometimes a chat ”

AGNES should have celebrated her 10th Anniversary on Tuesday 24th March when we had planned our AGM and a Birthday Party in the Church Hall. Sadly the party has had to be indefinitely postponed. Early in the Covid 19 crisis the AGNES Committee anticipated that many Aldeburgh residents would be forced to self-isolate and that AGNES might be called upon to play a vital role. We also realised that the majority of our existing volunteers would likely be self-isolating and that we would need to recruit replacements. Our appeal for new volunteers met with a magnificent response from townsfolk and also from many second home-owners who had elected to be locked down in Aldeburgh. I would also like to thank the members of the AGNES committee who have helped to plan the rapid expansion of our services by introducing new communications and data processing systems. My final thanks go to our expanded number of Duty Co-ordinators who have manned the AGNES phone thereby spreading the administrative load. Ian Henderson, Chairman Aldeburgh Good Neighbours Scheme (AGNES)

Stacey Drennan and all at Coming Together Waveney Nominated by: Edward Back Coming Together Waveney was set up as a response to Covid-19 by Stacey Drennan. The group has been dedicated to supporting vulnerable people in the Lowestoft area during the crisis, providing food and essential items to those who are high risk, vulnerable, elderly and/or disabled in the Waveney area.

Julia Catterwell Nominated by: Lorelei Cruz

‘‘The group has been dedicated to

supporting vulnerable people in the Lowestoft area during the crisis ”

Woods Loke Primary School - All staff Nominated by: Rachael Corrall

Julia has continued to work 6-7 days a week throughout the pandemic, providing care for people in Lowestoft and Ipswich who have not been able to leave their homes as well as delivering food, medicine and other essentials. She has been going into peoples’ homes to ensure they have had their dressings changed, that their medication is up to date and to provide food and help to those who need it most – all whilst volunteering at Kesgrave doctor surgery.

‘‘Julia has continued to work

6-7 days a week throughout the pandemic, providing care for people in Lowestoft and Ipswich ”

Staff at Woods Loke Primary School has gone above and beyond throughout lockdown to keep pupils and parents updated with regular social media posts and emails. They have also been making regular phone calls to parents to check in on how families are getting on. The school’s computer lead, Mr Butcher, spent many hours putting together a new website for the school with lots of useful information and links and ensured that pupils had a smooth transition with video calls and visual transition packs. Although not technically volunteers, staff have put in a lot of hard work and effort, including outside of school hours, to ensure that every child that attends the school, and their families, are happy, healthy and staying safe.

Helen Lewis Nominated by: James Mallinder Helen has helped 50+ residents through the Good Neighbours Scheme so far by connecting elderly and/ or vulnerable residents in Hollesley, Boyton and Shingle Street with volunteers who can help pick up shopping for food and essentials as well as collect and deliver prescriptions.

‘‘Helen has helped

50+ residents through the Good Neighbours Scheme so far ”

‘‘Helen has helped 50+

residents through the Good Neighbours Scheme ”

Volunteers from the Good Neighbour Scheme

Kesgrave Emergency Group

Louise Catterwell

Nominated by: Andrew Jollife

Nominated by: Lorelei Cruz

The Kesgrave Emergency Group was set up in a response to lockdown and will continue in a different format even after lockdown. Referrals have been coming through the ‘Home, but not alone’ scheme and the personalised Kesgrave Town Assist website – linking volunteers, or ‘street heroes’ to help with shopping, collection and delivery of medication and befriending. It is estimated that the group has helped around 200 people so far – stopping vulnerable people from going hungry, without vital medication and becoming a social link to those who are isolated and/or lonely.

Hundreds of people in Lowestoft have benefited from Louise since the start of lockdown – she has continued to work to help others, including collecting shopping for vulnerable people and delivering it to them safely. She has made a world of difference to the community through many selfless acts of kindness over the last few months.

‘‘She has made a world of

difference to the community ”

Front Room run by Amelia and Lauden

Lisa Williams Nominated by: Penny Parker

Nominated by: Ali Since the start of lockdown, the Front Room have been running a delivery service from their small café, providing fresh bread, cakes, lunches and a Saturday supper club to people in Bungay and surrounding villages.

Lisa usually runs a community café helping special needs adults in Felixstowe but at the start of lockdown, she started doing live cooking videos every day to teach people how to cook healthy meals and snacks, cooking on a budget, using leftovers etc. She didn’t forget about her special needs’ adults either, producing care and craft boxes for each and everyone to help keep them busy.

‘‘Lisa usually runs a community

café helping special needs adults in Felixstowe ”

Warwick Convenience Nominated by: Sheena Rawlings, Di Lewis, Zoe Brand and Jo Shulver The shop has gone the extra mile to keep customers in Woodbridge safe since lockdown started – working morning till night 6 ½ days a week, offering free deliveries to shielding customers and those too worried to go out. In store, the queueing strategies have been very good for both the shop and post office and they have also gone out of their way to obtain items that they don’t usually stock if requested. Nothing has been too much trouble for them, and they have been cheerful and helped to keep people safe and lift the spirits of their customers.

‘‘Nothing has been too much trouble

for them, and they have been cheerful and helped to keep people safe ”

Lisa at work in the kitchen

Dylan McGinley

Tara Cross

Nominated by: Claire Sales

Nominated by: Melanie Ambrose

During the shielding period, Dylan took it upon himself to contact his local greengrocer in Witnesham to assist in making veg boxes and delivering these in his local community, all whilst maintaining social distancing. Dylan is a member of the Suffolk Army Cadet Force and demonstrated some of their core values whilst helping others – selfless commitment, respect for others and self-discipline.

‘‘Dylan took it upon himself to contact

his local greengrocer in Witnesham to assist in making veg boxes ”

Due to her partner being diagnosed with cancer just before lockdown, Melanie was unable to continue as a gardener and shopper for Jean, an elderly lady in Felixstowe when lockdown started. Melanie heard about Helping Hands and contacted them to see if anyone could help Jean as she was worried, she wouldn’t be able to get food and essentials or keep her garden tidy during lockdown. Tara Cross offered to help, and she went above and beyond by helping Jean when she had a fall, calling an ambulance and sorting out lots of stuff to make sure she was okay and getting extra care. This took a huge weight off Melanie’s shoulders and she can’t thank Tara enough. Her help made a massive difference not only to Jean, but also to Melanie, who was quite traumatised by partner’s diagnosis at the time and felt overwhelmed with worry. Knowing that Jean had help and would be okay took one worry off Melanie’s shoulders.

‘‘Tara Cross offered to help, and

Dylan with one of his veg boxes

she went above and beyond by helping Jean ”

The Blaxhall Ship

Giddens & Thompson

Nominated by: Tom

Nominated by: Jane Gardner

The Blaxhall Ship turned into a takeaway on the first day of lockdown, and even offered food parcels to residents in Blaxhall, helping a lot of people.

Giddens & Thompson set up fruit and vegetable deliveries to people who had to self-isolate in Bungay and surrounding villages, meaning they could still have healthy food whilst unable to go shopping.

The community development team at Wellbeing but especially Steven Warner Nominated by: Sarah Warne The team have been doing online socials via Zoom to help people in Halesworth, Bungay and Beccles connect with others and talk about their mental health since March.

The Otley volunteers Nominated by: Chris Barker Since lockdown started, volunteers have gone the extra mile to help residents in Otley village during the crisis – and continue to do so. This includes regularly shopping deliveries and help with all sort of requests, particularly from older residents, cheerfully and efficiently.

‘‘Since lockdown started, volunteers

The team at Wellbeing

have gone the extra mile ”

Hour Community Nominated by: Diane Ramsay Hour Community adapted their core business as a response to Covid-19 to deliver food, prescriptions and help to vulnerable residents in Framlingham. The service continues and has helped make the community feel secure and been a huge help to those who were alone, older and/or vulnerable who were uncertain how they might eat, get their medication or even survive the crises.

‘‘The service continues

and has helped make the community feel secure ”

The Otley village store and Post Office Nominated by: Penelope Sunaway and Karen Goodman Otley village store and Post Office have been open seven days a week throughout the entire pandemic. The team have worked tirelessly and have really stepped up, including creating a home delivery route for the surrounding villages, which has been such a relief for many people who have been shielding or self-isolating.

Two of the team from Otley village store and post office

The team is always cheerful and polite, and they have truly been extraordinary in helping customers, helping the elderly and helping the lonely. They have maintained a huge stock level – including flour and toilet paper – throughout and nothing has been too much trouble for them.

Lynda Saint and staff from the White Hart Otley Nominated by: Marilyn Mackley, Jayne and Sarah Cameron From the start of lockdown until the pub could reopen in July, Lynda and her team helped the local community by taking orders for fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and other wholesale items and delivering them several times a week. This made a huge difference to the whole village as it kept everyone well fed. In addition, Lynda and the staff also cooked takeaway meals, pizzas, burgers etc. and enabled everyone to socialise over Zoom or Messenger groups to maintain a social life which was important with the pub being closed.

‘‘This made a huge difference

to the whole village as it kept everyone well fed ”


The Otley helpers team Nominated by: Clare Free The group has been helping around 20 local families and individuals in Otley by collecting shopping and prescriptions, and offering wider support, including helping families find the right help for their needs.

Clare Free - The Otley village helpers Nominated by: Sandee Sledmere Clare organised a voluntarily group of people in Otley who could be contacted quickly if someone needed help collecting prescriptions, chocolate etc, a chat or other. This made a difference socially and brought many people in the village together.

Costcutter Rendlesham

Adam Booth

Nominated by: Fran Lapage and Maria

Nominated by: Louise Booth

The shop in Rendlesham has worked hard, going above and beyond to provide food and deliveries to people in the local community since lockdown started.

When lockdown started, Adam delivered a note, offering help to people on his paper round as well as a few others in Holton. Not only did he do weekly shops, posted letters, go to the Post Office, fill up bird feeders, cut grass and pay bills, he also spent time chatting to the people he was helping to ensure their health and wellbeing was okay and if there was anything else they needed help with, because they were old, vulnerable and shielding. This made a huge difference, especially to one elderly couple who wouldn’t have been able to get their shopping without Adam doing it for them.

Susie Medland of Munchies Nominated by: Sally Swindells Since the beginning of lockdown, Susie has been making an assortment of ready meals and delivered within 10 miles of Fressingfield and Aldeburg to those unable to shop and/or cook, especially elderly isolating.

Sarah Hanlan Nominated by: Kirsty Hunt Sarah set up a Covid-19 response and support group for the villages in Ellingham & Kirky Cane in mid-March. This created a network of support for the elderly and vulnerable people in the communities, with volunteers able to help them do their shopping, collect prescription and look out for their welfare – and someone to talk to so they didn’t feel alone. Sarah set the group up coordinated it as well as organising PPE.

Adam Booth...making a huge difference

‘‘This made a huge difference, especially

to one elderly couple who wouldn’t have been able to get their shopping without Adam doing it for them ”

Rendlesham Good Neighbour Scheme Nominated by: Vicki Wright and Amanda Strowger RGNS was set up prior to Covid-19, however, they organised a delivery service with Costcutter in Rendlesham to enable those who were shielding to have food without having to use a larger supermarket – and this still continues where needed. They also put many other things into place, including keeping a check on the local community page for people who need help and taking residents to appointments.

Dave Moore Nominated by: Nicola Jenner As Chair of the Rendlesham Good Neighbour Scheme, Dave has helped to provide a service for local vulnerable people throughout the lockdown period, including arranging around 100 shopping trips and prescription collections each month. Dave initiated a remote payment system for those shielding in his area to make shopping easier to facilitate. He has been the primary contact for help for referrals from the Home, But Not Alone scheme and has also helped East Suffolk Council develop the Grandpad trial scheme for resident both inside and outside his GNS area.

Winky Evans & Sange Wilson Nominated by: Stella Cattermole Since the start of lockdown, prescriptions from Halesworth Surgery have been delivered to the Rumburgh Buck pub in Rumburgh & The Saints. Winky and Sange have turned up to the pub every Thursday without fail to collect the prescriptions from the owner, Stella Cattermole, and deliver them to between 10 and 20 people every week, many of whom are vulnerable and unable to get out to pick them up.

The Rumburgh Buck

Shiela with her Grandpad

Flic and Melanie - Southwold Voluntary Help Centre

Gemma Parker and Julie Lummis Nominated by: Cllr Mark Jepson

Nominated by: Elizabeth Mills During lockdown, Flic and Melanie ensured that everyone in Southwold and the surrounding area had access to food. They set up and delivered food parcels for those who couldn’t afford food, in collaboration with Sole Bay Trust Fund, which in turn helped support local businesses during lockdown. Several families who had fallen through the cracks were provided with healthy, locally produced food, which was vital to their physical and mental wellbeing.

Gemma was aware that staff were working at the local surgeries and care homes in Felixstowe and surrounding areas without protection and with the help of friends, started to make scrubs for them in April and continued all until the end of June.

Gemma Parker Nominated by: Hannah McCarthy Gemma helped create a movement in Felixstowe, creating handmade overalls for hospital staff, cakes for nurses and masks for doctors. She gave hours and hours and days and days of her own time.

‘‘Gemma helped create a movement in

Woodbridge Emergency Response Group

Felixstowe, creating handmade overalls for hospital staff ”

Nominated by: Nicola Jenner The group has helped vulnerable residents and people shielding in Woodbridge and the surrounding area since 16 March, delivering food shopping, prescriptions and foodbank provision. During lockdown, the group delivered more than 400 prescriptions weekly as well as weekly food parcels to vulnerable families and individuals.

Karen Banham - Felixstowe Scrubbers Nominated by: Cllr Mark Jepson Shortly after the start of the pandemic, Karen saw stories about the lack of scrubs for hospital and surgery, so she set up the Felixstowe Scrubbers – a band of volunteers who make scrubs. They initially provided scrubs to Ipswich Hospital, which then extended to include Felixstowe Community Hospital and the local surgeries.

The Scrubbers hard at work

Matt Read & Simon Scammell

Darren Aitchinson

Nominated by: Cllr Mark Jepson

Nominated by: Denise Blackall, Sally Harris, Alison MacLeod, Maria Malheiro, Andrea, Blythe Townley, Olivia Pryke, Philip Amey and Cassandra Aitchison

Matt and Simon operated a sail business in Woodbridge prior to the pandemic, which they stopped to make safety visors using 3D computers. They often worked 12 hours a day to meet demand, making over 9000 visors to frontline and care home staff initially, which developed over time to include shop staff. Initially, they set up a JustGiving page before receiving grants from East Suffolk. The majority of visors were donated to individuals, it was only when they started making them for shops that they asked for a donation. They had no experience of making visors and both were at risk of being made redundant but put that behind them to concentrate on delivering this important service.

‘‘They often worked 12 hours a day to

meet demand ”

Darren started Felixstowe Helping Hands in March, a support network helping many people in Felixstowe and the surrounding villages. He quickly built a bank of volunteers to help people during lockdown and beyond by enabling them to have shopping, essentials and/or medicines delivered free of charge and other things, including fixing faulty fire alarms and making friendly phone calls. He has gone above and beyond, taking over 100 phone calls a day at the busiest time. All calls were logged and one of is triage team would call that person back and assign them a volunteer. All calls were logged in red, turning to yellow when they have been assigned a volunteer and green when completed. He did all this alongside his other work and since the start of lockdown, has only had 1 or 2 days where he hasn’t manned his phone. Felixstowe Helping Hands are still operating and Darren is still taking 4 – 5 call daily and organising volunteers to collect prescriptions for those shielding.

Richard And Cheryl Andrews The Crown Inn, Great Glemham Nominated by: Karen Debenham Since the first week of lockdown, Richard and Cherry set up a pop-up shop in Great Glemham to service residents and become a takeaway restaurant so that everyone could continue to enjoy their meals. They helped many local residents who were unable to access transport or other services.

‘‘Darren and his team have

helped non stop with delivering food, shopping, prescription pick ups and deliveries ”

Mischa Pearson - The Teapot Project Nominated by: Rachel Smith-Lyte The Teapot Project has been helping people from the Halesworth area in the north to Felixstowe in the south by expanding their social enterprise model when lockdown started, delivering freshly prepared frozen meals to more people. Through the project, people can order online and pay what they can afford, averaging around £10 for 8 meals delivered to their door. Volunteers and staff don’t know the amount a person has paid, ensuring that no one feels embarrassed about what they can afford. Most of the ingredients are saved from landfill via donations and organisations such as FareShare – a charity reducing food waste and food poverty. Nothing goes to waste and even the food containers are returned by people at the next delivery to be reused by the chefs. The Teapot Project also delivers ‘dry’ store cupboard boxes in the more traditional foodbank sense and fruit and vegetable boxes from perfectly edible items which have been rejected by supermarkets over-strict standards. Even the delivery rounds are managed so it uses as little fuel as possible to keep the environmental impact to a minimum. As the project has grown, it has provided more and more paid employment for local people as well as for volunteers.

Antony Dawes

Felixstowe Helping Hands

Nominated by: Lucinda Walker

Nominated by: Kathrina Livingstone and Fredricka Mills

Antony has been coordinating and organising a team of drivers to help deliver medicines and food to people in Bungay, despite having to self-isolate himself due to his own health issues. That didn’t stop him working seven days a week and his wife, Linda has also been working tirelessly with him.

‘‘That didn’t stop him working seven

days a week and his wife, Linda has also been working tirelessly with him ”

Darren and Cass Aitchison do a huge amount for the whole community, helping those who needed support and help during lockdown and those who needed help to give them purpose too.

Members of Lound parish council, Lound village hall committee and Lound church

Bungay’s Emergency Community Support (BECS) Nominated by: Jeremy Burton

Nominated by: Jill Brown Members from the three organisations got together at the beginning of lockdown to set up a scheme providing support for anyone in Lound village who might need it. Flyers were distributed regularly door-to-door, which created an opportunity for residents to have a socially distanced chat with the person delivering it, which helped ease feelings of being isolated. The flyers were also posted on noticeboards in the village and on the website. Many residents have said that they felt much less isolated and were grateful to know that help was there if needed. Residents were also put in touch with each other to offer practical support and a friendly chat.

BECS offered advice and support in Bungay and the surrounding area during lockdown, receiving over 1,000 requests during a 12-week period. Over 50 volunteers were involved, offering a helpline, which was manned seven days a week, for advice and support as well as shopping for residents, including picking up prescriptions. Information about the service was delivered to residents in Bungay and the surrounding area on two occasions and the BECS has gone on to establish a permanent Good Neighbour Scheme.

Tony Dawes co-ordinating phone calls for Bungay Emergency Community Support scheme.

‘‘Many residents have said

that they felt much less isolated and were grateful to know that help was there if needed ” A Bungay Emergency Community Support volunteer delivering shopping to a resident.

Ipswich Makerspace Nominated by: Libby Ruffle The group delivered 12,000 face shields across Suffolk in the early days of Covid-19 when supplies were short. Volunteers were recruited to help assemble them and they crowdfunded almost £5,000 for the equipment.

Sew scrubs for Ipswich Hospital Facebook page members Nominated by: Adriana Watson So far, the group has sewn, knitted and crocheted in the excess of 10,000 items, including scrubs, scrub & uniform bags, ear savers, masks, twinned hearts, tabards for children with learning disabilities, sensory quilts for dementia patients, surgical gowns and more. Admins have been coordinating work and managing orders, queries and the Facebook page while 250 people have been sewing and 70+ volunteers driving. Items have been made and donated to Ipswich Hospital, Woodlands Mental Health Facility, care homes across East Suffolk, carers and nurses in the communities, GP surgeries, Suffolk Parents & Carers Network and many more.

EA-CAT Nominated by: Carl Robinson The volunteer group provided an essential component in getting items where needed all over the eastern part of Suffolk during the pandemic, ensuring people got the items they needed, and that vulnerable people were safe.

Over 12,000 shields were delivered across Suffolk

‘‘Volunteers were recruited to help

assemble them and they crowdfunded almost £5,000 for the equipment ”

Melanie Lord Nominated by: Amy Dunthorne and Liz As a mum of a young son on the spectrum, Melanie is devoted to raising awareness around autism. She consistently strives to show her community in Lowestoft the importance of inclusion for all by creating free autism awareness frames which she would donate to local schools, nurseries, and charities once a month to show the importance of accepting everyone. As well as raising money for the community, in 2019 Melanie and her autistic son raised money to install a defibrillator in a local pre-school by doing a sponsored walk. During lockdown, it became apparent to Melanie the lack of resources and support available for special needs parents and carers. Many social media sites were full of parents and careers seeking help and guidance, as they felt shunned out from the government’s preparations.

‘‘Despite being a mum of two

under 5 years old, Melanie spent her time in the evenings to create printable resources ” Changes in routine for autistic individuals is hard enough, but no one was prepared for what Covid-19 would change for everyone. This meant there was a lack of guidance in place for the special need sector. Many parents and careers have relied on services and schools to help them before the pandemic, including learning ways to be able to communicate with the person as well as getting emotional support for themselves. But many of those services were forced to shut abruptly, leaving parents and careers feeling helpless. Despite being a mum of two under 5 years old, Melanie spent her time in the evenings to create printable resources for parents and careers, including social stories (picture stories about what is happening with virus and the changes it brought with it) and other visual aids that would help special needs children and adults understand the change. As well as allowing the children and adults to express their feeling and emotions during the pandemic, it also made them feel included in what was happening. Melanie’s Facebook page grew overnight from 200 likes to over 3000. She was shocked and happy as her resources

were shared on social media and really making a difference among the special needs community, which also highlights the real demand there was for support during the pandemic. Melanie also created free resources tailored to suit individual needs if she was contacted with requests or a parent or careers needed help. For example, an autistic child had a fear of seeing her parents wear a face mask but loved Peppa Pig. Melanie sat up one night to photoshop face masks on the Peppa Pig characters, and also created a social story for the parents to use. This enabled the child to understand that it is okay wearing a face mask and we are all still the same underneath. Alongside this, she sent her resources and tailored them to her local doctor surgery and hospital, as well as the local school and children’s centre. It was well received and used to help the community become more inclusive and recognise the need to aid hidden disabilities during the pandemic. People often tell her how much she has helped to change the lives of parents and careers of adults and children with special needs. It is very rewarding for her to be able to see how much she has helped others, making her community more inclusive and understanding of others so they can be who they are without the need for changing themselves to fit in with what’s deemed normal.

Mel with her children

Julie Glenn

Mills and Sons Butchers

Nominated by: Susan Morrice and Hilary Ward

Nominated by: Hannah Wright

At the start of lockdown, Julie set up a local village volunteer group to support residents in Theberton and Eastbridge. Julie linked volunteers with neighbours who needed assistance, such as getting shopping or prescriptions. The volunteers ensured no one felt alone and everyone had a role – those shielding phoned each other while others set up home deliveries from local shops for those unable to access the online delivery slots. Julie welcomed any questions, worries or enquiries and no problem was too big or small. This was invaluable to those in the villages that do not use the internet or social media. Julie, Sue and the small group of volunteers really brought the community closer together and no doubt new friendships and connections have been made during this difficult time. Julie hopes that it will continue as a Good Neighbour Scheme.

All four siblings – Henry, Victoria, Liz and George – continued to operate during lockdown, offering residents both an ‘in-shop’ and delivery service to enable the whole community to buy fresh meat and produce daily. They were very proactive in ensuring they adhered to the social distancing guidelines.

The Mills team outside their Southwold shop

‘‘They were

The helping Ufford group Nominated by: Judi Hallett The group stepped up to the role as community helpers in Ufford within hours of the lockdown. Four residents organised the group but soon many other residents volunteered to be helpers. The group has helped (and continue to help) a number of local residents who can’t get out easily.

very proactive in ensuring they adhered to the social distancing guidelines ”

Erika Clegg - Spring Design, Southwold Nominated by: Hannah Wright Erika and her team supported local businesses by offering a free Zoom call to share their expertise in marketing, PR and social media. The objective was to help businesses maximise their social media presence, develop their online sales skills and provide advice on how to engage with audiences whilst in lockdown.

Many local businesses were not operating during lockdown and had furloughed their staff, but 12 businesses signed up for the call and the feedback from those attending was that they had really benefited from having Erika and her team share their knowledge and it had motivated them to continue to work and succeed.

Twelve local businesses took part in the Zoom meeting

Tony Leon - Waldringfield Harbour Master Nominated by: Mariah Ballam and Neil Winship Tony has carried out countless rescues, interventions and assistance to the greatly increased number of visitors to the river Deben since lockdown. He carries out his role with such dedication and good grace that he truly deserves thanks and recognition. He has helped swimmers, yatchmen, birders, fishers, crabbers, sailors and river users of all kinds this summer. He has been called out from his home to attend emergencies, many of which have been resolved because of his friendly and diplomatic nature. This includes helping people back to shore when they have gotten into trouble, helping boats which have gone aground and dealing with boats and jet skies speeding dangerously through the moorings. His community and its visitors could not have asked for a better person to keep their part of the river safe. Tony goes above and beyond his job description, far exceeding his duties as Waldringfield Harbour Master, especially this year.

Feed Waveney Community

Alderton Village Store

Nominated by: Loana Roslyn

Nominated by: Bea Pike

The group has been feeding the homeless and vulnerable in Lowestoft every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

This little village shop in Alderton remained open during lockdown. It is too small for customers to social distance, so a 2-metre long table was put in the doorway and customers purchases were put in a basket and pushed along. Home deliveries were made to those villagers who were unable to get to the shop and delicious homemade food was cooked.

Matt Read Nominated by: Michelle Cook

Chris and Yve Versey - and all at the FACTS bus Nominated by: Anne Dance They tirelessly and cheerfully delivered prescriptions in Felixstowe for many hours day after day to save those people who were shielding from having to visit the pharmacy during lockdown.

Matt has made hundreds of face shields for NHS staff, care staff, vulnerable people and anyone who said they needed them. It started as soon as people began needing them and he still provides them for free now to anyone who needs them or requests them. He has helped hundreds of people in his local hospitals and doctor surgeries in Felixstowe as well as at Ipswich Hospital, care homes and the general public.

Izaak De May Nominated by: Dara De May 17-year old Izaak has been volunteering at Ipswich Hospital since the start of lockdown, handing out free gifts to NHS workers and helping on a NHS call line and the hospital radio. He also works at the EACH and Oxfarm charity shops, helping many people and always making a difference with his positive nature and sunny personality.

Kirton Community Nominated by: Susan Harvey Initially a note went out to every house in Kirton village offering help with prescription collections and shopping for essentials for those who needed to shield. There was also a manned pop-up table twice a week which gave people somewhere to walk to and have conversations. It was a place to receive and give information for the benefit of many. Local footpaths maps were available as well as details of the local charity which could offer financial help and support. Food was donated, which grew to include sacks of potatoes, books, DVDs, children’s toys,

‘‘There was also a manned pop-

up table twice a week ”

Kirton residents helping out

The whole team of volunteers at Felixstowe Radio Nominated by: Rob Dunger Felixstowe Radio not only kept broadcasting during lockdown, but actually increased the number of live shows they aired. The station acted as the first point of call for all local organisations and the public, featuring many hours dedicated to local charities and organisations. The station also waved most of their advertising fees and has introduced remote broadcasting with some presenters setting up studios in their own homes. The station has been key to people in isolation who relied on their community radio station.

jigsaws, and plants. Pictures went out on Facebook so people who were shielding could see what was there and have specific items delivered. Free handmade face masks were available with details for ordering. People got together to cut out and make scrubs. On the last day people were invited to make written comments and the main thing which came out was that it was a ‘place for conversation’, which prevented loneliness.

Basic Group Charity

Della Hughes

Nominated by: Vanessa

Nominated by: Julie Gittoes

The group has been organising food to those who need it in Felixstowe throughout lockdown.

Catherine Palmer Nominated by: Diana Lovell-Pank

Della runs and maintains Clopton news email, the Clopton village website and through Covid, she has introduced and hosted weekly zoom ‘virtual coffee morning’ – helping people to stay in touch, up to date with village new and socialise through these isolating times. The whole village has access to these activities as well a an animated WhatsApp group conversation on a daily basis.

Catherine is a highly qualified nurse, a superb driver and a warm, compassionate and sensible person. She worked tirelessly throughout lockdown, embracing every opportunity to help anyone she possibly could in any way imaginable with humour, good sense and efficiency, whether it was to do someone’s shopping, driving someone somewhere or giving quiet medically-qualified reassurance to those who seeking it.

‘‘Catherine is a highly qualified

nurse, a superb driver and a warm, compassionate and sensible person ”

The Clopton village website which Della runs

Railway Farm Shop, Benhall Nominated by: Esther Mower The shop have been providing a delivery service during lockdown, meaning that local people in Benhall, Saxmundham and surrounding areas has been able to get sustainable and local produce even if they were selfisolating or shielding.

‘‘The shop have been providing a

delivery service during lockdown ”

Penny Parker Nominated by: Hannah Parker Penny has been crocheting ear protectors and made scrub bags during lockdown as well as thank you bags for all key workers in her local community in Felixstowe. She handmade masks to raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind, checked on people and had shopping delivered to them. She also made treasure hunts and arranged social distanced street parties for the road to enjoy. She is always thinking of other people and never herself.

Jane Palmer and team Oyster Inn, Butley Nominated by: Joanne Peters Jane and her team’s work have been invaluable in the small village of Butley. From opening a store that forms part of the pub to providing free school meals and meals for the vulnerable as well as takeaway food such as fish and chips on a Friday and burgers on a Saturday. The village went from having no facilities to having a wellequipped shop, caring landlady and team and takeaway food options, including delivery. Hundreds of free meals were delivered as far as Trimley and the shop and takeaway service was very well used by Butley residents and also the surrounding villages.

‘‘The village went from having no

facilities to having a well-equipped shop, caring landlady and team and takeaway food options, including delivery ”

‘‘She handmade masks to raise money

for Guide Dogs for the Blind ” The Bakery Nominated by: Marion

Throughout lockdown, the Bakery have done bread deliervers to those unable to get out and continue to do so, which has made a big difference.

Jane Palmer....invaluable work

Halesworth Fairies Nominated by: Jane Dekker A group of volunteers organised over 100 afternoon teas to be delivered to nominated people over 75 who were vulnerable and housebound in Halesworth on VE day. The surprise brought smiles, some tears and a delicious treat.

Goodie bag deliveries

Key service businesses in Halesworth town centre 20-25 people Nominated by: Karen Prime Most of the businesses in Halesworth town centre are independently owned. Almost over night on March 23rd, they had to adapt the way they worked to create a safe environment for their staff and customers, whilst also changing the way they worked to ensure vulnerable customers received essential groceries. This meant setting up new ordering systems, delivery services and payment methods – all in the space of days. They rose to this challenge by keeping going, working harder and longer, thinking about the wellbeing of the town and its residents and always being a friendly and smiley face for some who saw almost no one else. This meant that people were able to get essential supplies safely either by coming into town in a safe environment or by restricting their travel and getting food delivered. This was vitally important for vulnerable residents as it was difficult to get anywhere near the same level of service from the larger supermarkets.

Halesworth businesses rise to the challenge

Charlotte Clark Southwold Library Nominated by: Rose Westall Every day during lockdown, Charlotte presented a live ‘baby bounce/tot rock’ on social media which involved her singing hello to every child (parents sent in their children’s names) and then singing nursery rhymes and fun children’s songs for 30 minutes. This gave many children and families routine and joy during a bleak time and is still taking place three times a week now.

‘‘This gave many

children and families routine and joy during a bleak time ”

Glenice (Glenny) Stone - Woodbridge RDA Nominated by: Gemma Williams Glenny set herself a task to make 500 masks during lockdown in aid of Woodbridge RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) and she has so far raised £1,000 for the charity and is well on her way to making 1,000 masks. The RDA has struggled through lockdown as they have not been able to raise funds as normal with their riding and carriage driving sessions, Glenny but they still have ten horses and ponies to care for. The funds Glenny has raised has helped immensely in them ensuring their amazing animals are thriving during these difficult times.