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Our community heroes - from food bank volunteers and fundraisers to theatre teacher

PUBLISHED: 19:05 05 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:00 06 August 2020

Celebrating Castle Hill Community Centre's 1,000th food care bag, Tracey Dockery of North West Ipswich Big Local Trust, Angela Stroud from the centre, two members of Morrisons staff and volunteers Picture: CASTLE HILL COMMUNITY CENTRE

Celebrating Castle Hill Community Centre's 1,000th food care bag, Tracey Dockery of North West Ipswich Big Local Trust, Angela Stroud from the centre, two members of Morrisons staff and volunteers Picture: CASTLE HILL COMMUNITY CENTRE

CASTLE HILL COMMUNITY CENTRE

Food bank volunteers, fundraisers and an organiser of virtual drama classes for children are all honoured in our latest tribute to Suffolk’s community heroes.

Jane Brett of Woodbridge did Brave the Shave for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of her parents Picture: VICTORIA BRETTJane Brett of Woodbridge did Brave the Shave for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of her parents Picture: VICTORIA BRETT

The Community Pantry at Castle Hill Community Centre in Ipswich has just celebrated a special milestone, after giving its 1,000th care bag of food.

The pantry, operated together with North West Ipswich Big Local Trust, has been operating for around three months during the coronavirus pandemic and has grown fast, with support from volunteers, schools and charitable organisations.

Centre manager Garath Jones said: “We have grown from providing 20 bags per week to approximately 150 bags per week.

“We believe that we offer vital support in a time of unprecedented need.

Anna Damigella, principal of Bravo Theatre Workshops, has been running free Zoom workshops for youngsters Picture: ANDY ABBOTT PHOTOGRAPHYAnna Damigella, principal of Bravo Theatre Workshops, has been running free Zoom workshops for youngsters Picture: ANDY ABBOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

Angela Stroud, assistant manager at the centre, said: “The work done by our volunteer team has been amazing, from giving up their own time to collect donations from local supermarkets to distribution of our care packs.”

The pantry has received a grant from North West Ipswich Big Local Trust to fund a distribution vehicle until September, helping it meet demand.

Tracey Dockery of North West Ipswich Big Local Trust said: “We could see the demand increasing and this funding will help the Community Pantry to receive extra donations, ensuring continued help for local families.”

If you need a care bag of food or know someone that is in need please contact Garath or Angela at the Centre on 01473 747053. To donate as part of the centre’s weekly Donation Monday, please bring in-date, tinned or non-perishable goods to the centre on Mondays between 9am-3pm, or call to donate at another time.

Children from Bravo Theatre Workshops in their 2019 Variety Show. The youngsters have been taking part in virtual workshops during coroanvirus restrictions Picture: DAWN HYNESChildren from Bravo Theatre Workshops in their 2019 Variety Show. The youngsters have been taking part in virtual workshops during coroanvirus restrictions Picture: DAWN HYNES

Braving the Shave

Jane Brett, of Woodbridge, decided to “Brave the Shave” for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of her parents, Rita and Robert Dunnett, who both died recently, within six weeks of each other.

Jane has already raised £730, after her daughter, Victoria, shaved her hair, while family and friends cheered her on.

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“When I had braved the shave, I was quite emotional. It was for a special charity, just sad my parents were not present,” she said.

To support Jane’s fundraising effort, visit her Brave the Shave page.

Running free online theatre workshops for children

Work with children has also been very important over recent months. Megan Bradley wrote in to nominate Anna Damigella, Principal of Bravo Theatre Workshops as a community hero.

Although children couldn’t go to their normal classes in Stowmarket over recent months, Anna has organised free Zoom classes in dancing, singing and acting, with sessions for different age groups from three right up to 18.

Megan said: “This has been amazing for the children, to be able to keep that sense of community whilst not being able to see each other.

“The first thing to go would be a club or hobby when parents are struggling with money during these times, so making it accessible free of charge has really made a difference to them.!

“I work for the school and have been involved in teaching the workshops every Friday alongside Anna and Tammy Denny. Even in typical times, the theatre school is a massive part of the children’s lives. Students frequently say it’s the place they feel they can be themselves and feel comfortable.”

The workshops have now been paused for the summer holidays but in-person classes will return soon, held on Friday nights at the Boys Brigade Hall in Combs Ford. For more details, email bravotw@hotmail.com

Virtual Midnight Walk

St Elizabeth Hospice Midnight Walk has sadly been cancelled for this year, but participants are still being asked to take part in a Virtual Midnight Walk to raise funds.

The main virtual event will run from September 19-26, but fundraiser Michael French, from Wickham Market, did the walk early, on his birthday, August 1, after losing his wife, Caroline, last year. He walked together with Dominique Dale, from the hospice’s Woodbridge community connector team.

“Michael wanted to take part in the Midnight Walk to raise money for a great service that had supported his wife,” Dominique said.

“We raised £250 for St Elizabeth Hospice, completing the 10km walk around Ipswich.”

To support the Midnight Walk, visit the website.


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