Help is at hand this Christmas

Published

Suffolk residents can still seek support over the festive period.

Help is available for anyone who is self-isolating, facing financial difficulties or struggling with their health and wellbeing.

Many people may not be having the Christmas they had hoped for, as Covid infection rates continue to rise locally and nationally.

In recognition of this, the Collaborative Communities Board – consisting of partners from Suffolk’s councils, police, health bodies and charitable organisations – want to remind people of the support systems in place to help with a range of issues.

This includes Home, But Not Alone, which provides assistance with obtaining groceries and medication to those unwell with Covid, or self-isolating, who cannot arrange delivery of these items themselves or don’t have friends or family to help out.

Anyone in genuine need of help can call the service – staffed on weekdays between 9am and 5pm – on freephone 0800 876 6926. It will remain open on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and over the festive bank holidays for emergency calls only.

Those requiring support with financial difficulties resulting from Covid should contact the Suffolk Advice and Support Service on 0800 068 3131, between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

The one-stop service offers advice from partners, including the Citizens Advice Suffolk Alliance, on a range of money worries such as debt, rent or mortgage arrears and credit cards.

Chrissie Geeson, chair of the Collaborative Communities Board, commented:

“Councils, organisations and volunteers across Suffolk have been at the forefront of supporting our communities since the pandemic began, and will continue to provide this vital assistance as we face the challenges posed by Omicron and an increase in Covid cases experienced nationally.

“Although this is a time of uncertainty for many, please know that you are not alone and can rely on support over the Christmas period, and beyond, if in genuine need.

“I’d also urge people to consider how they might be able to assist their family, friends or local communities without putting themselves at risk. A small act, like dropping off shopping to a neighbour who is self-isolating, can make a real difference and ensures that our services are able to help people who perhaps don’t have support networks in place or anyone to turn to.”

Suffolk residents facing financial hardship and in desperate need of food can find information on Food Banks currently accepting self-referrals.

A one off £500 support payment may also be claimed by those self-isolating due to Covid who meet the Government’s eligibility criteria.

District and borough councils are administering the Government funded scheme and further details can be found by visiting:

Support is also at hand to help with health and wellbeing, with www.sneevaccine.org.uk providing the latest information on Covid vaccinations – including locations of walk-in clinics, details on free transport to help with attending vaccination appointments and answers to frequently asked questions about the vaccines.

Help with staying mentally well is available on Wellbeing Suffolk’s website, which offers free online advice to help with feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, as well as self-referral forms for anyone aged 16 and over in need of mental health services.

People experiencing loneliness can use the Suffolk County Council funded Buddy Up initiative, provided by Community Action Suffolk. The service matches those facing isolation with a trained volunteer from their local community, who can help them with getting a new hobby, attending social activities or joining local groups. Further information on using the scheme, or applying to be a volunteer, can be found at: www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk/projects/buddy-up/ or by calling 01473 345400.