Ipswich Good Neighbour scheme to continue after lifting of lockdown
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
An Ipswich community scheme which originally launched to help people during the Covid-19 crisis has announced it will continue beyond the lifting of lockdown.
IP3 Good Neighbours began in April last year supporting residents on the south-eastern side of town with tasks such as shopping and collecting prescriptions.
A Facebook group was formed and the volunteers quickly learned there was demand for such services in the area, not only during the pandemic but also in the future.
Paul Daley, 51, chairman of the group, said a committee of eight people has now been formed, with help from Community Action Suffolk.
"Me and my wife registered with the Home But Not Alone scheme, but there were so many requests, we started a Facebook group and it went on from there," he said.
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"It was clear that people wanted to help, not just with the here and now but in the longer term. Obviously the pandemic has been a tragedy but I think one of the great things to come out of it is the increased sense of community."
The group started a pop-up shop on February 11, at the Salvation Army Ipswich Priory Centre on Thursday mornings where people can fill up a bag of food for £2.
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Further events such as drop-in coffee mornings around IP3 alongside advice services, and group litter picks are planned once Covid restrictions allow.
Mr Daley said: "One of the things we're very keen to do is to work in partnership with other groups and organisations. We are in the process of setting up litter picks with one starting this Saturday, it will be a virtual litter pick for now with people in their own household sticking to their area. We're doing that in conjunction with the Ipswich Wombles.
"It's really encouraging how people have got on board with all of this, and how it's really taken off. The support on the Facebook page has been great, we've got about 870 people on there now. It isn't all about numbers but it's more that the community want to be part of it.
"There is a real need there, there are certain areas with a higher number of people below the poverty line, but there's also a real sense of people wanting to come together as a community."
Mr Daley said the group is looking to become a charity in the future and the scheme is keen to hear from people who would like to become involved as volunteers.
He added: "We're really enthused about what's going on and looking forward to doing more."
For more information on the IP3 Good Neighbours scheme, click here to visit the group's website.