An area of Woodbridge is facing some of the "highest deprivation in Europe" as the cost of living crisis worsens during a challenging winter.

The news comes as Suffolk businesses are set to meet on at Portman Road on Wednesday to discuss how they can support the ongoing Cost of Living Surviving Winter Appeal. 

The campaign, which is supported by this newspaper, was launched last month to provide essential support to vulnerable people across the county. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Melanie Craig (centre), Nicky Willshere of Ipswich Citizens Advice (centre right) and Gary Crockett of Warm Homes Healthy People (right)Melanie Craig (centre), Nicky Willshere of Ipswich Citizens Advice (centre right) and Gary Crockett of Warm Homes Healthy People (right) (Image: Suffolk Community Foundation)

It has been organised as a joint initiative by Suffolk Community Foundation, Citizens Advice Ipswich and Suffolk County Council's 'Warm Homes Healthy People'.

“The UK’s rate of food poverty is among the worst in Europe”, said Paddy Bishopp, chairman of the campaign and co-organiser Suffolk Community Foundation’s Food & Drink Fund.

"An area of Woodbridge [is] one of the highest areas of deprivation in Europe due to the number of free school meals being handed out.

"The cost-of-living crisis makes it harder for people to afford to eat, and this is seen across our county.

"Having seen this first-hand from Haverhill to Lowestoft to Bury St. Edmunds,  I know that we have to act now."

The latest local data shows one of the sharpest rises in fuel poverty across Suffolk, with a total of 75,000 households now struggling to meet their living costs and heat their homes as a difficult winter approaches.

The annual Appeal has this year been widened with a three-pronged approach targetting ‘fuel, food and support’.

Grants to help pay for fuel will be available to people of all ages, while some food projects and charities - who are facing significant challenges themselves - will also receive vital support.

Wednesday's event will see Suffolk businesses invited to Portman Road to explain how they can help make the appeal a success. 

In 2021/22, the appeal raised nearly a quarter of a million pounds and provided warmth and other vital financial advice and support to over 1800 households across Suffolk.

“The cost-of-living crisis is having a profound impact on people across Suffolk and the need for support is greater than ever,” reiterated Melanie Craig, CEO of Suffolk Community Foundation.

East Anglian Daily Times: The appeal was launched last monthThe appeal was launched last month (Image: Suffolk Community Foundation)

“Businesses provide a vital role in our communities and we are really pleased they are demonstrating such enthusiasm to endorse this Appeal."

If you would like to receive individual support, wherever you are in Suffolk, please contact Citizen’s Advice Ipswich on 01473 298634.

To donate to the Appeal, donate online by visiting, telephone 01473 602 602 (during office hours), visit any branch of Suffolk Building Society to make a payment over the counter or fill in the coupon in today’s East Anglian Daily Times and send a cheque.