Suffolk Business Awards: Your chance to thank our local heroes
- Credit: Archant
Public vote opens for special award to thank the businesses that made a difference to our communnities at the height of the coronavirus lockdown.
The new Changing Lives Special Recognition Award, sponsored by Norwich Research Park, gives every reader a chance to vote for the companies that pitched in to help at height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Businesses across this region responded with incredible agility,” says business editor Richard Porritt. “It was amazing to see how quickly they adapted, with manufacturers switching to making visors, masks and disinfectant gels to help those working on the frontline – often at some cost to their own bottom lines.”
The work these firms did benefitted the community and now we ask every member of our community to go online and vote for their most-deserving business.
“The spirit that is seen every day on our Park embraces the power of collaboration. Our community of researchers and scientists work together to come up with solutions to some of the most globally important issues we face – and the overriding reason for doing this is to change lives. That’s why the Changing Lives Award is so important to us,” says David Parfrey of Norwich Research Park.
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“This award celebrates those businesses who went the extra mile – and we want to make sure that their efforts don’t go unnoticed,” says Richard Porritt.
“I would urge everyone to vote for who they think is most deserving. Awards are always more powerful when voted for by the people who were affected,” concludes David Parfrey.
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Here are the 16 businesses nominated for the Changing Lives Special Recognition Award – along with a brief summary of how they helped our communities in the fight against coronavirus.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Adnams worked with the University of East Anglia to provide alcohol for hand sanitiser production, an essential item in short supply at the start of the outbreak. The material they produced helped to clean an estimated 1.3 million pairs of hands. Adnams also cancelled its tenants’ rent for three months while they were closed and donated 5,000 care packages to frontline workers and local communities.
Bosch Lawn & Garden Ltd
The team at the Bosch Lawn & Garden R&D centre based in Stowmarket design and develop garden power tools. They had the necessary skills and technology to volunteer their services to the local community at the forefront of the battle against Covid-19. They rapidly produced 2,111 face shield sets using 3D-printing technologies, supporting a UEA project helping local NHS and frontline workers.
Brierfield Residential Home
Brierfield Residential Home in Trimley, near Felixstowe, locked down weeks before any government advice, which helped protect the residents from Covid. All staff have come back with negative test results, indicating how well the home protected everyone. It increased its outdoor entertainment, made sure new clients are tested and that visitors wore correct PPE. It also helps residents make regular video calls to their families.
The Chestnut Group
Following the closure of their pubs, inns and restaurants, the team at Chestnut launched the Giving Tree initiative. The 60 strong team of volunteers has raised more than £50,000, cooked and delivered over 25,000 meals for more than 35 care homes, hospitals, hospices and communities and families across the East of England. The Giving Tree has been such a worthwhile project that it will remain an important part of the business going forward.
Flagship provided accommodation for rough sleepers and adapted customers’ homes to prevent them from being admitted to hospital or to enable them to return home safely. Flagship’s staff contacted over 6,500 of its most vulnerable customers, provided £330,000 of debt relief to 641 families at risk of losing their home, let 128 homes to families in desperate need and delivered food parcels, meals on wheels while doubling its ‘kindness fund’.
The Grundisburgh Dog
Eilir and Charles Rogers created a pop-up outdoor grocery store in front of their pub, so local residents could shop safely. It offered locally sourced fresh fruit, vegetables and other basics. They offered protected shopping slots for extremely vulnerable people to get their essentials safely and went out of their way to support the elderly and vulnerable in their community. They had an honesty box for payments so customers could stay in total isolation, as well as a contactless format for collection of takeaway food.
Ipswich Community Support
Ipswich Community Support helped 138 residents, collected 240 prescriptions and delivered 924 food shops. The team donated 952 hours of work, ensuring that those most in need had a volunteer assigned to them, residents didn’t go hungry or without important medication and the group’s Call Buddy initiative helped combat the feeling of loneliness. The group says its belief that nobody should go hungry or without day-to-day essentials and that no one should feel isolated spurred them on.
Jake Lay Flurrie – One Sixth Form College
Teenage entrepreneur Jake Lay Flurrie, a 17-year-old student at the One Sixth Form College (formerly Suffolk One), set up a GoFundMe page and received more than £1,000 in donations. He used the money to support care homes, hospitals and the local community by printing more than 500 masks via his small printing business. Any money left over will be donated to the NHS. He said: “Seeing the positive effects of my support has been amazing.”
The Jockey Club Newmarket
The Jockey Club Newmarket collaborated with local partner organisations to support the community. Having identified that the impending lockdown would put vulnerable families and individuals of the town into crisis situations, an action group was formed, bringing together private and public sector organisations, with furloughed employees as volunteers. Since March this group has provided essential support to the community including shopping for and delivering food and medication to 150 residents, procuring and delivering more than 3,500 hot meals, and arranging short-term financial support in cases of extreme hardship.
Leaf Care Services LTD – Ixworth Court Dementia Care Home
The team at Ixworth Court Dementia Care Home halted their normality and re-purposed their services, putting the community first, saving individuals from job-loss, rescuing struggling healthcare agencies, and ensuring the consistent delivery of quality health care services. It says it is transforming the lives of furloughed employees, agency staff, dementia care residents and health care professionals, demonstrating a community-wide commitment to people and the care they deserve.
Melanie Lord – Beauty by Melanie
As a mother of a young son on the autism spectrum, Melanie says that the lack of resources and support for special needs parents and carers during lockdown became very apparent. Many individuals with additional needs use visual aids to communicate and understand changes, so she created free printable resources such as social stories and other visual aids, tailoring the resources for free to suit individual needs and offering support. Her resources were also used in schools, children’s centres and doctors’ surgeries.
Realise Futures supports disabled and disadvantaged people in their local communities to find employment and has remained accessible to all throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. From increased veg-box deliveries, providing local wholefoods through Poppy’s Pantry and the team at Nowton Park delivering plants to the adult learning and employment services, it has diversified to meet the needs of the community. Its town centre café St Lawrence has also reopened to provide fresh homemade food and cakes.
Red Rose Chain
The theatre charity’s primary focus during the Covid-19 crisis has been to keep vulnerable participants connected and supported to combat isolation, loneliness and fear. At a time when the rest of the arts had largely stopped, it rapidly changed its methods of operation, using cutting edge-technology to reach, stimulate and support people who are most vulnerable. Participants with disabilities, young people, volunteers, audience members and freelance artists have been engaged creatively, making films, writing plays and collaborating in stunning visual arts projects.
St Elizabeth Hospice
St Elizabeth Hospice is an independent Suffolk charity providing free services to improve life for people living with a progressive or life-limiting illness, as well as end of life care. The organisation has adapted to overcome challenges posed by the pandemic, to ensure the hospice remains able to support its staff, patients and their families. It also led a partnership of healthcare providers to protect the needs of patients and the wider community, in a united stance against coronavirus.
The Teapot Project
This charity offers access to healthy food within the Suffolk community without financial barrier, through its shared-value scheme that not only rescues unsold surplus food from supermarkets (thus reducing the impacts of wasted food) but also repurposes that food through various options, such as cooked meals and produce boxes – all on a pay-as-you-feel basis, with a free delivery service when needed.
Vertas and SENDAT Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Academies Trust
Vertas and SENDAT delivered 400 welfare packs to children with special educational needs and disabilities. “In the first weeks of lockdown free school vouchers were not yet available, and we knew that our families would be struggling,” says Lawrence Chapman, SENDAT CEO. “We have heard from many that the parcels were really useful and meant that they could provide meals for their children. As the crisis continued Vertas delivered work packs and activities to students’ homes, allowing them to continue learning.”