Communities urged to share neighbourly gestures and initiatives

Chris Abraham, CEO of Community Action Suffolk
Chris Abraham, CEO of Community Action Suffolk

What are you and your community doing to help others amid the Covid-19 pandemic?

That’s the question coming from the voluntary sector today, who want to collate a comprehensive list of initiatives, projects, activities and actions which are demonstrating Suffolk’s generous and proactive support of others.

Community Action Suffolk, in conjunction with Suffolk Community Foundation and Suffolk Association of Local Councils, has today launched an online form to help capture the information about the many and varied ideas which have been put in place in our towns and villages.

The form will help identify where some organisations and groups have adapted existing functions, and where new initiatives have been launched as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Since the virus became an issue of more concern in recent days and weeks, Community Action Suffolk has been inundated with calls from groups and individuals about the ideas they have conceived to support others.

Chris Abraham, CEO, believes the new form will enable a more comprehensive database of activities to be collated and shared within the county.

She said: “My team and I have been overwhelmed and deeply impressed by the response from across Suffolk in recent days.

“So many people are wanting to start activities which make a difference to their neighbours and their wider community.

“We want to make sure we capture that picture fully so that we can signpost people to what is happening, but also so that we can find the right sort of volunteers and resource to keep such things going.”

One community that has swiftly responded to the Covid-19 circumstances in order to tell people how they can help others is Gislingham.

Jo Clifford, a resident of the village, has led a team in producing a poster which is being put up around the community, and an insert for the local magazine. Those items share useful information about how to help others who may be isolating.

She said: “It was important that we could do something swiftly, but not without appropriate consideration. We wanted to give accurate information to those in our neighbourhood who want to offer help in a safe and sensible way.

“We were able to gain some invaluable information from a number of organisations, including Community Action Suffolk and Age UK Suffolk, who could tell us what had been done previously, and what had been implemented by other neighbourhoods.”

Initiatives perceived to be a priority among neighbourhoods at the current time are such things as ensuring that medical prescriptions can be collected; enabling food shopping to be purchased for those who are less mobile; and creating means of communication and connectedness, even where physical groups and events are no longer possible.

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