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Suffolk churches unite to spread a smile during coronavirus pandemic

PUBLISHED: 17:13 14 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:13 14 May 2020

Daisy Preecey with a knitted rainbow made by Revd Annette Shannon  Picture: DIOCESE OF ST EDMUNDSBURY AND IPSWICH

Daisy Preecey with a knitted rainbow made by Revd Annette Shannon Picture: DIOCESE OF ST EDMUNDSBURY AND IPSWICH

DIOCESE OF ST EDMUNDSBURY AND IPSWICH

Churches across Suffolk are bringing generations together in a bid to combat loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Revd Annette Shannon has been knitting rainbows and uniting her community by telephone during the coronavirus lockdown  Picture: DIOCESE OF ST EDMUNDSBURY AND IPSWICHThe Revd Annette Shannon has been knitting rainbows and uniting her community by telephone during the coronavirus lockdown Picture: DIOCESE OF ST EDMUNDSBURY AND IPSWICH

From knitting rainbows, painting pictures and simply picking up the phone, the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has been connecting the younger and older generations feeling isolated throughout the lockdown.

The Revd Annette Shannon, rector of six villages south-west of Ipswich, said local parents were inspired to create a “telephone tree” network of young people and the elderly community to help them feel more connected to the outside world.

Revd Shannon said: “Before the lockdown, we ran a regular toddler group for the benefice for mums, followed by an afternoon tea for the older members of the community.

“When lockdown happened, the mums started calling up the older generation who mainly live alone to see how they could help.

“Everyone talks about how powerful social media is in allowing everyone to keep in touch, but if you’re not on it and rely on phone calls, then the telephone tree is a really important way of reaching out.”

Children in the benefice have also been taking part in online baking and crafts challenges set by older members of the community on Facebook, while others have created parcels of soaps to distribute to those self-isolating.

Revd Shannon has also knitted several rainbows to hang on a tree at the end of her drive so passers-by could take one.

“Parents and children have taken the rainbows and replaced them with artwork or their own rainbow creations,” she added. “My tree has become a beautiful work of art.”


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