Ed Sheeran makes significant donation to Suffolk coronavirus appeal
- Credit: Archant
Superstar Ed Sheeran has kick-started a new appeal to help Suffolk communities recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
He has thrown his support behind Suffolk Community Foundation’s (SCF) new ‘Rebuilding Local Lives Appeal’, with his pledge coinciding with the start of the Suffolk Day celebrations.
The singer songwriter, from Framlingham, who has championed the county throughout his career, has made the appeal’s “founding gift”. The amount remains confidential.
The campaign will get vital funds to community groups and charities helping those in need during the Covid-19 crisis and as we emerge from it.
Many of those organisations are, themselves, struggling financially, with demand at an all-time high. It has been warned many could collapse in the next year.
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The appeal is led by SCF, and backed by the Suffolk Coronavirus Community partnership, which has seen a number of key organisations join forces.
These include the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, Community Action Suffolk, Suffolk Association of Local Councils, Suffolk County Council, district and boroughs councils and all those involved in Suffolk’s ‘Home But Not Alone’ initiative. BBC Radio Suffolk are also partnering on the new appeal today, while SCF continues to work with the National Emergencies Trust.
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Tim Holder, SCF’s head of public affairs, said: “We were so excited and grateful to receive this support from Ed, he has been so generous to our county in so many ways.
“The timing of the announcement of his wonderful gift – as we enter the ‘Suffolk Day Weekender’ – has provided a great reason for everyone to celebrate.
“Ed’s visibility as a supporter will really boost our ability to raise awareness of the fund and this new appeal and now we can inspire even more people to support Suffolk charities and community groups to get Suffolk lives back on track as we come out of lockdown.”
The Rebuilding Local Lives Appeal will feed in to the Suffolk Coronavirus Community Fund, created by SCF, and which has already raised and distributed over £1.2million in the county in just three months.
This has reached more than 120,000 vulnerable people.
Mr Holder said: “We really hope that Ed’s gift will inspire many more Suffolk people to find out more about our work and give what they can afford to the appeal. Every penny is very much needed and appreciated.
“Suffolk charities, community groups and neighbourhood schemes are facing overwhelming levels of demand for the help and services they are providing to vulnerable people in Suffolk. It is impossible for all their voices to be heard at this time and giving a gift centrally to this appeal will enable those who want to pledge their financial support to really make a difference where help is needed most.’’
Stephen Singleton, SCF chief executive, said: “Suffolk is well known as ‘The Caring County’ and we hope our community will step up and give generously in support of vulnerable local people. The impact we can make will be huge if we work together and having the support of Ed Sheeran gets us all off to a brilliant start.”
Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare Countess of Euston, said: “Suffolk has responded to this crisis with compassion, stoicism and resilience. In spite of the sadness and difficulty, I am hearing so many stories of kindness, with communities coming together across the County to support the vulnerable and lonely.
“Our great charities are working all hours to provide desperately needed aid to those in need. Now they need our help in this darkest hour.”
Donations can be made online via the website, by making a telephone donation via the appeal hotline on 01473 786911 (weekday working hours).
Where some of the money is already helping:
Level Two Youth Project, Felixstowe and surrounding areas
The grant has helped the organisation adapt services to support approximately 500 young people. They are working with vulnerable young people and families struggling with isolation and with limited access to networks and resources. They are also picking up additional need, which includes mentoring and counselling sessions by telephone and delivering school lunches to primary school children.
Shez Hopkins, project manager, said: “We are so grateful to receive this funding. ‘School Lunch’ deliveries are going really well! We have lovely conversations at a distance with all families, the children are looking out of the window and get so excited to see the Level Two bus pull up outside their house. They love to draw pictures that we then put up in the bus windows.”
Hadleigh Cares Community Group
Set up at the start of lockdown, Hadleigh Cares Community project is the town’s new Covid-19 support group. A team of 170 volunteers have been helping those who are vulnerable and self-isolating, with services such as shopping, delivering prescriptions, both pre-cooked and hot food, vegetable boxes, dog walking, and post office visits. They have already carried out over 2000 collection and deliveries, delivered over 1,300 meals and 500 prescriptions. Stuart Service, lead volunteer, said: “The support we have received from the team at Suffolk Community Foundation has been vital for us. This incredible funding allows us to concentrate on providing an extremely high level of care without financial restrictions, especially as none of us know how long we will be living like this. We are so grateful.”
BME Suffolk Support Group, Ipswich and surrounding area.
BME Suffolk Support Group is a non-profit organisation supporting black and minority ethnic families to adapt and integrate into their local community.
They adapted their services extremely quickly as the pandemic hit, running many vital projects that have been essential in helping the BME communities. The African food pantry was set up to respond to the need of their members who were unable to access food supplies - weekly food parcels have been delivered, supporting 83 vulnerable families on a regular basis. The Youth Forum – a support group for children from 8-16 years old is regularly held online via Zoom, has proved vital in supporting this age group and keeping check on their mental health during the height of lockdown.
Halesworth Dementia Carers Fund
Historically, HDCF and its team of volunteers provide respite care to over 35 family carers weekly, enabling the person with dementia to be taken out or to do a structured activity in the safety of their own home, therefore enabling the family carer to take a much needed break.
Since the onset of Covid-19 their respite care service has continued but it’s not been possible for the person who has dementia to go out, so it has meant the volunteers have to adapt and provide structured activities in the home or garden.
In addition, they are also providing telephone support - all family carers are contacted every week providing the opportunity to discuss how they are coping during this pandemic. In addition, a couple of their trustees have been baking and delivering boxes of cakes to the families they support.