Never before in the history of Community Action Suffolk (CAS) (and many other VCSE sector organisations in Suffolk) have volunteers and community action been needed more. For some, volunteers have always been a lifeline, but now the number of people requiring support from kind members of their community is more important than ever.
At CAS, we are working across the system, including Suffolk County Council, Public Health, District & Local Councils, Suffolk Community Foundation, Suffolk Association of Local Councils, and other key partners to ensure the best Suffolk wide response possible and make access to support as widely available as we can. We are working on new resources, and information every day to help keep our communities safe and supported as they help each other.
In addition, our Volunteering & Organisation Support teams are focused on ensuring safe and coordinated opportunities to volunteer are communicated and available when needed. You may have seen our involvement with the ‘Home, but not alone’ campaign calling for more people to step forward and showing you how you can get involved. Suffolk’s ‘Home but not alone’ service has been launched to help connect people who want to volunteer in their communities with neighbours who are most in need.
The service will mean willing volunteers, charities, town and parish councils, community and religious groups can all log their details and offers of support on an app, while people who need help can phone to request support. As the number of offers and requests grows, they will be matched so that the right help can be given where it’s most needed. This support could include delivering groceries, medication or essential household goods, in line with Government social distancing guidelines.
The telephone number for those in genuine need of help is freephone 0800 876 6926 and will be staffed from 9am to 5pm, seven days a week. You can download the free app, called Tribe Volunteer from Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Key to this volunteering effort across the county is registration of what is happening in your local area so that we can publish where people can go for support in their community – please register your group or activity on our website as soon as you can:
In the last few days, we have also been putting the following actions in place (in no particular order):
- Information sharing – every Wednesday afternoon we will be sending this newsletter straight to your inbox with pertinent information and guidance we think you will find particularly useful.
- CAS website – to help communicate the wide range of information that is being shared on a daily basis, we have created a new ‘Covid-19’ tab on the homepage of our website. We will be updating these pages on a daily basis with all useful links, resources and guidance we receive, please do keep an eye out for information you may find useful.
For VCSE Organisation Support visit: https://www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk/covid-19-response/
For Community Support including Good Neighbour information visit: https://www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk/covid-19-response/covid-response-communities/
To register your Community Emergency Response visit: https://www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk/coronavirus-community-emergency-response/
National Work – The national infrastructure bodies – NAVCA, NCVO, ACEVO, CFG, IoF, Small Charities Coalition, DSC and others – are working together, shoulder to shoulder, to support the sector at this crucial time. We are using all our combined weight and influence to bring about urgent and immediate action to create a meaningful package of financial support for the sector – for those actively involved in the delivery of crisis response, and for the sustainability of the sector as a whole.
Whilst the national infrastructure bodies continue to us every route open to us, we believe that the single most powerful thing that could happen now would be for every MP in the country to be asked to put their name to that letter. To this end, our Chief Executive, Christine Abraham, and Chair of Trustees, Kevin Ward have written to all MPs in Suffolk requesting this.
Representation – we continue to contribute to the national picture with local information on what is happening in Suffolk, the fantastic community response that is increasing every day, and how the pandemic is affecting all of us at a local level to make sure your voices are heard and influence policy decisions wherever possible and plausible.
Emergency response Good Neighbour Scheme toolkits – our Voluntary & Community Action team have produced new guidance for local residents and established organisations to enable them to swiftly set up schemes in local communities. These can be downloaded from our Covid-19 Communities page on our website: