Family of five with no food among the 6,000 to call Suffolk campaign

The Home, But Not Alone campaign has received more than 6,000 calls during coronavirus lockdown. Cou

The Home, But Not Alone campaign has received more than 6,000 calls during coronavirus lockdown. County council leader Matthew Hicks Picture: GREGG BROWN

More than 6,000 people experiencing hardship during the coronavirus crisis have made contact with Suffolk’s Home, But Not Alone campaign.

The initiative is supported by Suffolk County Council and all of Suffolk’s district/borough councils, Community Action Suffolk, Suffolk Healthwatch, Suffolk Association of Local Councils, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner and the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star to serve as an emergency helpline for those in need as a result of the lockdown.

It offers emergency food parcels, medicine collections and to help people with essential household goods in collaboration with local charities, parish councils and religious groups.

Although a key focus was placed on the elderly isolated from their family and local community, the scheme has continued to help a wide range of people, including one family of five who were left in “desperate need of assistance” after being left with nothing but soup in the cupboards as the father was unable to work due to health reasons.

The family – which includes three children – was delivered a food box the same day they called the number and has since been placed on a food bank list and helped with further medicine deliveries.

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The campaign has also helped a man who had spent all his money on taxi fares while making three trips to his GP every week – leaving him with nothing to pay for food.

Thanks to the campaign, he has since been assigned free taxi trips to his local surgery.

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County council leader Matthew Hicks said the 1,800 volunteers involved in the campaign are a “credit to the county”.

Mr Hicks added: “This is about giving support at home for those feeling vulnerable, who are really up against it and who need that extra bit of support. We are there to help them.

“Hats off to everyone, Suffolk has really pulled together and it is a real credit to the county, the way we have all managed to come together to operate this service.

“We are still getting calls to the Home, But Not Alone phone number every day, and people are still calling in really for a few key reasons – they are looking for support getting food, collection of medicine or they’re feeling lonely.

“And now we’re starting to see more people worried about finances and mental health, so the calls are still coming in, and we are still there to support them as needed.”

Those in need can call the hotline on 0800 876 6926.

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