How Suffolk's generosity has soared in the last year
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
The last 12 months have been challenging in so many ways - but one of the most heart-warming consequences of Covid has been how people have pulled together to help those in need.
We have clapped for carers, shopped for others, volunteered at vaccine hubs and, above all, we have shown kindness for others since the country was put under unprecedented lockdown measures last March.
Here in Suffolk, a number of initiatives have been launched such as the Home but not Alone campaign and the Good Neighbour schemes - not to mention hundreds of people volunteering their time.
And new research by thortful.com shows that people have been looking to give back, with Google searches for 'care packages for friends' rising by 3,350% and thousands donating to charities all over the country.
How have charities been supported here in Suffolk?
St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich, which cares for more than 3,000 patients and their families across east Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney, at a cost of £12.9million, has thanked its supporters for their continued donations over the last 12 months.
Despite its events and community fundraising activities being severely affected, it has had some huge successes.
Hannah Bloom, director of income generation at the charity, said the number of individuals donating to the hospice and the amount of money being given has significantly increased.
The hospice's raffle last August had its best year yet, raising more than £30,000, while its recent Christmas campaign - the Be A Star appeal - brought in a huge £77,000 compared to its normal £42,000.
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Meanwhile, where people have undertaken activities such as head shaves and endurance activities, they have raised significantly more online - and sometimes as much as £10,000.
Ms Bloom said: "I think some people have more money in their pockets and money is staying locally more, as Covid has made us look back at our neighbours.
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"Healthcare organisations have also received more support as we have been at the forefront of peoples minds and in the press, and our services have continued throughout."
Its #HereTogether campaign, launched to help them survive Covid, raised more than £250,000 in 2020.
The aim was to ask people to be here for the hospice today so it can be here in the future.
During the appeal, they had 30 people donate over £1,000 in the first month, compared to around 17 gifts over £1,000 the previous year.
Ms Bloom said the support has been "amazing" and all their staff are extremely grateful for the generosity of the community.
The hospice is now asking supporters to get behind its upcoming fundraising events, including the Wild in Art 2022 and in the nearer future, their Steps of a Nurse virtual fundraiser.
Taking place between May 1 and June 30, Steps of a Nurse will see the hospice challenge supporters to match the 190-mile distance its nurses walk on shift every month through the virtual mission.
How have you shown generosity and thoughtfulness since the pandemic began?
From care packages, to doing online shopping and even gardening, people have come to the aid of others when they needed it most and have showed kindness throughout.
We asked people in Suffolk what the most thoughtful thing someone has done for them since the pandemic began.
James Cable said that while he was in the Co-op in Aldeburgh, his lifeboat pager went off and he had to leave his shopping.
When he returned, the man who was in front of him in the queue had paid for his shopping and dropped it off at the beach.
A number of others have had cakes delivered from friends, their gardens sorted out, care parcels on their doorsteps, or a simple friendly face on the other side of a video call.
But it's not just humans who have been helping out.
Dawny Jane Smith said her furry four-legged friends have helped her through furlough and redundancy.
She said: "They are always ready for a cuddle."
Has someone gone out of their way to do something thoughtful for you over the last 12 months? Get in touch with us here to share your story.