Rebuilding Local Lives Appeal raises £1.7million and helps 167,000 people in Suffolk
- Credit: Archant
The Rebuilding Local Lives Appeal has now raised £1.7million for charities and community groups in Suffolk, supporting the continued response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The appeal, kickstarted by a donation to Suffolk Community Foundation (SCF) by the county’s own Ed Sheeran, aims to help charities and community groups survive the funding crisis brought on by Covid-19.
So far, the foundation has helped nearly 167,000 people through 334 grants of a combined £1.5m, although the team warn there is still much to do as temperatures drop.
It is hoped a further £300,000 will help prevent a continued crisis over winter – which has already proved too much for one of Suffolk’s most vital charities, Age UK Suffolk, which folded earlier this year.
Stephen Singleton, chief executive of SCF, said he has been “moved” by Suffolk’s generosity.
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Mr Singleton said: “When the country went into lockdown in March, I don’t think any of us really had any comprehension of the effect that coronavirus would have on so many people’s lives and are hearts continue to go out to those who are suffering.
“However, amid all of the challenges, we have also seen real passion from every corner of Suffolk to fight the effects of the pandemic.
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“It continues to be a privilege for our team at the foundation to find ways to bring people together to keep existing projects moving forward and to support the creation and deliver of new ideas and solutions.”
The foundation is hoping to host a live broadcast from DanceEast on 11 November to celebrate what has been achieved so far.
Tim Holder, head of public affairs at SCF, added they anticipate a “huge” spike in demand for support.
Mr Holder said: “We must now firmly press ahead with finding ways to support the increasing numbers of vulnerable people in Suffolk as winter closes in.
“This will be no ordinary winter, with vulnerable people continuing to isolate for many more months, large rises in local unemployment anticipated and a continued negative impact on physical and mental wellbeing.
“In partnership with the East Anglian Daily Times and BBC Radio Suffolk we are now finalising the details for a Winter Appeal that will focus on the key elements of staying warm, staying well and staying connected. We will certainly need Suffolk to go the extra mile to keep people safe as the temperatures continue to drop.”
To support the appeal, visit the donation website
How the appeal has already helped these organisations:
BME Suffolk Support Group
People from black and minority ethnic families living in Suffolk have also benefited from ‘vital’ Suffolk Community Foundation funds.
BME Suffolk Support Group, which provides help to low-income families in north west Ipswich and beyond, received money from the appeal to help continue its “African Food Pantry” and Youth Forum services.
So far, the group has provided weekly food parcels to 83 families, while the monthly Zoom meetings with young people have helped to boost mental health and education opportunities.
Tchenda Simões, outreach officer for the non-profit organisation, said: “We are very grateful for the funding we received from Suffolk Community Foundation during these strange times. Without these vital funds, we would not have been able to help so many families with the distribution of the vital weekly food parcels.
“Our members have been so happy to receive them.”
SERV Suffolk and Cambridgeshire
Urgent blood delivery service SERV has seen its workload more than double during the pandemic – but the Rebuilding Local Lives Appeal has been there to help.
The organisation, which has merged to cover Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, delivered more than 1000 lots of PPE over three months during lockdown – on top of almost the same amount in medicine deliveries.
The volunteer-run service, operating 24/7, 365 days a year, covered nearly 40,000 miles in the same time period.
Cindy Dickerson, chairman of the organisation, said the funding helped bridge a significant funding gap.
Ms Dickerson said: “The donation we received from the Suffolk Coronavirus Community Fund we received from the Suffolk Community Foundation was agreed, received quickly and just in time. It has been used to cover the fuel and running costs of our volunteers and the liveried fleet of vehicles.
“Thank you from us all.”
Small business Sharing Parenting has helped to make a ‘huge difference’ to the lives of local families thanks to the funding.
The Newmarket-based community interest company aims to provide support to parents facing difficulties to help ensure all children have a happy and prosperous childhood.
Using funds from the foundation, the team have sent activity bags to vulnerable families and bolstered its online and telephone support services.
Suzanne Pearson, director of Sharing Parenting, said the company is “so grateful”.
Ms Pearson added: “With the money, we have been able to provide many more parenting resource packs to those that really needed them. They have made such a difference to the families we support.
“We also included a parenting manual that gave some short tips to parents at what can be a difficult time.”