Pulling together to support our communities

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils remain committed to working with partners to support the volunteers assembling to help protect our communities.

Both councils have today pledged to support parish and town councils and voluntary groups who we acknowledge will play a key role in empowering our communities to remain resilient during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The councils have established a new light touch grant scheme, with over £80,000 available through grants of up to £2,500, to provide financial assistance to other local community organisations assisting with the response to the pandemic.

This is in conjunction with new financial help from both councils, which already been made available, for major food banks within the districts in Stowmarket, Sudbury and Hadleigh, to support their vital work during the Covid-19 outbreak. The councils will also be working with partners to address any logistic needs the food banks may face.

This partnership work also extends to collating and sharing local intelligence, identifying existing support networks, and where gaps lie, enabling us to help those who need it most. Our Communities Team has been bolstered by the redeployment of council officers from other duties to support this work and there is scope to increase this further if required.

The councils are also part of the Collaborative Communities Board which is behind the creation of the new Suffolk-focused community support service, Home But Not Alone. The service sees willing volunteers and charities logging their details and offers of support on a phone app, matching them to people who need their help. This ensures that help can be given where it’s most needed, and can be in line with safeguarding policies. The Tribe Volunteer app is free to download on both Apple and Android.

Vulnerable residents who are without alternative support and need assistance with the delivery of groceries, medicines and other supplies should telephone freephone number 0800 876 6926. This is open from 9am to 5pm seven days a week, with staff from our two councils working through their weekends to support this service. 

We have also put measures in place to help key workers. During the Covid-19 outbreak Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are suspending restrictions in our car parks to permit critical key workers to use council parking bays without time restriction or charges.

In addition to this, we recognise that key workers may need to self-isolate, so have worked with Suffolk’s Public Sector Partnership to help find short term accommodation for key workers who are unable to return home. Any key workers with an urgent need for this service should email: accommodation@baberghmidsuffolk.gov.uk

Cllr Julie Flatman, Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing for Mid Suffolk District Council said:

“It is incredibly heartening that in these challenging times we can work with partners across Suffolk to respond to an increased demand for community support as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. I am also delighted that we’ve been able to provide support for our district’s key workers.”

Cllr Derek Davis, Cabinet Member for Communities for Babergh District Council said:

“It’s wonderful to see Babergh’s communities rallying together to look after one another. Unfortunately, while many have a genuine desire to help, we must be mindful of unscrupulous criminals fraudulently posing as good Samaritans. I would encourage all those wishing to help to use the Tribe Volunteer app, which I have already downloaded myself.”

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