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The Collaborative Communities Covid-19 Board Newsletters

From the Chair of the Collaborative Communities COVID-19 Board


This is the 7th newsletter sent on behalf of TheCollaborative Communities Covid-19 Board.

Here is a snapshot of the great work going on as Suffolk comes together to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak:

  • A man called the phoneline because he was suffering from poor mental health and felt very isolated. We signposted him to a number of local and national organisations that could help, including the Samaritans and Suffolk MIND. We also gave him the number of a local book club because he explained how he liked to read. We returned his call the following week to make sure he had everything he needed and he told us he was thankful for our help and grateful that he now knew where to turn.
  • A elderly woman, who lives in sheltered accommodation and cannot leave her home because of poor health, contacted us because she needed a food parcel. She was also unsure if she was registered on the Government’s shielded list. We arranged for an immediate delivery of food to be made by a near-by volunteer and then helped her to register on the shielded list so her future needs would be me. She was very thankful that she had called the phoneline.
  • A daughter called with concern for her elderly father, who had no food in the house. We made contact with the man who was unable to leave the house and asked if we could pass his details on to a neighbourhood group who could get his shopping for him. A volunteer then phoned the man and arranged to get a food shop to him for the same day.

There have been 8,500 calls taken since the phoneline was set up. Phone calls are answered and cases managed by staff at each district, borough or county council depending on the type of enquiry.  Wherever possible we link people in need with local groups and businesses, who are doing an amazing job in our communities.  This phoneline is for vulnerable people in our communities, and not for general Coronavirus enquiries.

Covid19: Digital Response

The update below captures the ongoing work of the Board in relation to supporting communities, specifically in relation to the digital work, during the Covid19 pandemic.

SCC Covid 19

 Digital Services

GrandPad Pilot

Tribe update: You may have by now received a phone call from the Tribe team asking for a little bit more detail about what volunteering you are willing to undertake. Among other things this is to help match you up with existing community groups in your neighbourhood. It’s already proving a great success with volunteering matches made to the Teapot Project, HomeStart in Suffolk, The Voluntary Network, Community Covid response groups, Speak and many other Suffolk based organisations.

Here’s a brief case study of how we got involved with the Teapot Project:

Some background:

The Teapot Project was established by Mischa Pearson in 2015 and it went on to win the Suffolk's Greenest County Award. Mischa stepped back into the helm when COVID-19 forced the “lockdown” of all restaurants, while so many people were also struggling to find affordable food supplies to feed themselves or their families. The Teapot Project collects edible surplus food that would otherwise become landfill waste, from restaurants, supermarkets and other food businesses. They redistribute that food to vulnerable people, charities and third sector organisations across Suffolk.

Since March the team has helped to feed hundreds of local people regularly, by saving, cooking and redistributing thousands of kilos of food from many businesses, including Nando’s and Proctor’s Sausages. While the project continues to send out food parcels to individuals, families, community groups and charities, they are also trialling a 3 Box Meal plan scheme with a local sheltered housing organisation.

The Teapot project cannot function without their growing team of volunteers and have been grateful for the offers of support from people in Suffolk.  As this project has been rapidly growing in size and delivery, Mischa wanted to recruit a volunteer to fulfil the role of Service Manager.  The Service Manager would take over the general overseeing and scheduling of volunteer roles. Mischa was looking for someone who has a background in managing staff within the catering sector.  The day to day activities will include receiving job sheets detailing shipments pending, assigning volunteer staff to ensure boxes are packed correctly, and handed over to the Driver Manager ready for dispatch.  Mischa was not sure whether this was a role that she would be able to fill easily. 

How Tribe has helped:

The role was promoted through the Tribe Volunteer app and sent to registered users living within Martlesham and Woodbridge. The same day 2 users responded stating their interest and within a week, had met with Mischa. They are now looking to share the role between them and start volunteering with The Teapot Project.  This simple and effective volunteer recruitment, as relieved pressure off Mischa, enabling her to concentrate on her role managing the project.

Community Action Suffolk: CAS is currently looking at how digital technology has helped and/or hindered the VCSE sector to adapt and develop services during C19 and are keen to hear from any organisations that have ideas or examples of best practice that could influence a plan for future developments and digital awareness raising.  To share your ideas or best practice of new and innovative ways of working together digitally, please contact hannah.reid@communityactionsuffolk.org.uk


Good Neighbours Go LIVE!  Jane Arkely-Crouch, Good Neighbour Scheme Development Officer, will be hosting a Facebook Live ‘Introduction to becoming a Good Neighbour Scheme’ next Tuesday at 3pm on our @SuffolkGNS page. This session is perfect for community groups who have organised themselves with local volunteers to respond to Covid-19.  They have made a huge difference to those vulnerable neighbours, ensuring they receive food, medication and friendship during very challenging times.  Some of these groups are starting to think ‘what next?’ and realising that there people in their community that will still need support beyond Covid-19.  Our recent survey to Community groups informed us that 45% of groups plan to continue and 42% said they were unsure. Our survey also asked about the challenges that the groups are experiencing and are foreseeing; which include funding, safeguarding and managing volunteers. 

Please help increase our reach to the groups that you are in contact with by ensuring they know that Community Action Suffolk are here to support them.  They can join your Good Neighbour Scheme Development Officer Jane via Facebook Live at 3pm on Tuesday 26th May to find out more about becoming a Good Neighbour Scheme or they can contact Jane direct by emailing jane.arkley-crouch@communityactionsuffolk.org.uk telephone 07884 56337. Click the button below to go direct to the Facebook page:

GNS Facebook


Parish and Town Councils going virtual: The Suffolk Association of Local Councils has held many virtual sessions for both councillors and clerks over the past few weeks using Zoom.  These sessions include  8 networking events that help to share best practise, offer support and help identify issues that SALC are raising with appropriate bodies both locally and nationally. SALC have also run 11 free training sessions on how to use Zoom for remote meetings which is helping town and parish councils understand best practice including cyber security.This week SALC have also expanded their online training portfolio - for more details visit   https://www.salc.org.uk/training-2/new-training/