Volunteers reach 1,000 deliveries of food and prescriptions to vulnerable residents in Halesworth

Wendy and her 'pot of joy' - just one of the deliveries carried out by Halesworth Volunteer Centre.

Wendy and her 'pot of joy' - just one of the deliveries carried out by Halesworth Volunteer Centre. Photo: Jo Leverett - Credit: Jo Leverett

Halesworth Volunteer Centre has been carrying out food shops, providing over-the-phone catch-ups and dropping off prescriptions for vulnerable and isolated citizens during this period of lockdown.

Volunteers with the HACT delivery bus. Photo: Jo Leverett

Volunteers with the HACT delivery bus. Photo: Jo Leverett - Credit: Jo Leverett

These have been challenging times for many of us, with life as we know it changing so drastically in such a short space of time. But at this time of crisis, it has been simply remarkable to see so many people volunteer their time to help others in need. Communities across Suffolk have rallied round to provide essential support to their friends, neighbours and colleagues, helping to spread some much-needed positivity in these difficult circumstances.

The Halesworth Volunteer Centre is one such group. The volunteer-led centre has been providing practical help and support to local residents for many weeks now, offering help with shopping, a friendly phone call and much, much more to those who might be vulnerable or isolated. Since 23rd of March – when the group dropped off their first food shop – the team has delivered over 1000 food orders and prescriptions. The prescriptions are collected and dropped off by a team of volunteers who travel to the Health Centres and pharmacies in Halesworth, Reydon, Southwold and Wrentham. The shopping is delivered by the Hact bus and their team of drivers travel as far as Blythburgh, Cratfield, Ubbeston and Walpole. The bus has now clocked over 500 miles!

Emma Healey, the Centre Manager at Halesworth Volunteer Centre, says: “Our team of volunteers are really making a difference, ensuring that people get the help and support they need so that we can all stay safe and protect the NHS. It is so good to be able to do our bit but Halesworth is really pulling together and it is a real community effort. Lots of community groups are still doing all they can to help vulnerable people in Halesworth and the surrounding rural communities and we are really working together to reach the most vulnerable people. Local shops have been brilliant too.”

The Halesworth branch of The Co-op has been providing practical help to volunteer shoppers from the Halesworth Volunteer Centre, and the local pharmacies – Boots, Cutlers Hill and Sole Bay Dispensaries – have been working flat out to make sure that people receive their medications.

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The team is going above and beyond with its services. On Friday, April 26, the Halesworth Volunteer Centre team was able to deliver a delightful pot plant and gift card to 100 people in Halesworth and the surrounding villages who are isolated or self-isolating – all thanks to a generous donation of plants from Woottens of Wenhaston.

“We have been overwhelmed by the appreciation that people have shown for a simple gesture,” says Emma. “One person described the gift as ‘the little plant that means so much’”.

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If you are in need of any assistance at this time, please contact the Halesworth Volunteer Centre on 01986 875600 or 07801 997051. Halesworth Food Bank is also open every Wednesday between 10.30 and 11.30am, and Halesworth Town Council is co-ordinating a special voucher scheme for people in need. For more information about the Halesworth voucher scheme, call the town council on 01986 874517.

You can find out more about the Halesworth Volunteer Centre on their website.

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