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‘We must all pull together again’ - How Thetford is preparing for a second lockdown

PUBLISHED: 15:21 04 November 2020 | UPDATED: 15:21 04 November 2020

As town’s across Norfolk gear up for the second national lockdown, key figures in Thetford have reassured the community that support will still in place for those who need it. Photo: Canva

As town’s across Norfolk gear up for the second national lockdown, key figures in Thetford have reassured the community that support will still in place for those who need it. Photo: Canva

Canva

As a second national lockdown approaches, people in Thetford havebeen reassured that support will be in place for those who need it.

Norfolk County Councillor and Breckland Councillor Terry Jermy. Picture: Conor MatchettNorfolk County Councillor and Breckland Councillor Terry Jermy. Picture: Conor Matchett

Breckland Councillor, Terry Jermy, has stressed the importance of ensuring help is provided to local businesses, as many will once again be forced to close their doors from Thursday.

At a virtual meeting with the leader of Breckland Council, Sam Chapman-Allen, Mr Jermy asked for clear guidance on business support.

He said: “I hope that residents will wherever and whenever possible support local businesses with online shopping to help mitigate lost income as best possible.

“I have also asked that support is provided to vulnerable residents and those on low incomes.

Janes James owner of Not Just Books, in Thetford's Town Centre. Photo: Emily ThomsonJanes James owner of Not Just Books, in Thetford's Town Centre. Photo: Emily Thomson

“Fuel poverty is a very real issue in Breckland and the difference between the previous lockdown and this one is of course the weather.

“There will be a lot of people on low incomes at home for longer with increased demand placed on heating bills.

“If anyone is in need of support, please do reach out to one of the dedicated local groups or contact local councillors who are there to support all residents in this difficult time.”

Thetford book shop owner and town councillor, Jane James, is among those who were left “devastated” by the news, after only opening her business a few weeks ago.

Not Just Book, an independent book shop, in Thetford Town Centre. Photo: Jane JamesNot Just Book, an independent book shop, in Thetford Town Centre. Photo: Jane James

But she said support should be on its way, and we must be “kind” and “patient”.

“I am shell shocked at the moment,” she said. “We knew it was coming but I thought we had more time.

“It is incredibly difficult and the timing couldn’t be worse but it is one of those things, we just have to deal with it.

“But there are things going into place and there will be support for the retail offering, which should be going through Breckland Council.

Thetford high street. Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Thetford high street. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

“Everybody has been so supportive and have already placed orders for Christmas presents. Worst case scenario, I will be dusting down the bike and delivering to you myself.”

Mayor of Thetford, Mark Robinson, said “we must all pull together again” and look out for our must vulnerable residents over the next month.

“I think we are in for a slightly different kind of lockdown,” he said.

“When we went into it the first time, we had the benefit of good weather, so now we will face new challenges during the winter months.

Mark Robinson, and his wife, at Thetford Town Councils annual mayor making ceremony earlier this year. Photo: Mark RobinsonMark Robinson, and his wife, at Thetford Town Councils annual mayor making ceremony earlier this year. Photo: Mark Robinson

“I would encourage people to watch out for the vulnerable, if you are able to drop off shopping for a neighbour who can’t get out, please do.

“It’s those simple little acts which will help us through this. Anyone can contact me directly to have a chat and I can signpost you to the right support.”

During the first lockdown, the Charles Burrell centre was a “vital lifeline” within the community and its CEO, Danny Whitehouse, has reassured that it will be again.

He said: “The CBC will remain open for essential services and education provision, such as the Foodbank and West Suffolk College.

The Charles Burrell Centre in Thetford. Picture: Ian BurtThe Charles Burrell Centre in Thetford. Picture: Ian Burt

“We also are talking with our community about what they need right now, including developing plans for a social supermarket where members of our community can get good quality, nutritious food for a fraction of high street prices.

“This is frankly devastating for so many start-up entrepreneurs at the CBC, which include hairdressers, beauticians, tattoo artists, masseuses, personal trainers, martial artists, cheerleaders, footballers and dancers.”

“We will otherwise be closed to the public.”

Sharon Thompson is the facilitator of a community support group which has been in operation since March. She said they are bracing themselves for a busy month.

Danny Whitehouse is the Charles Burrell Centre's new chief executive and is in talks with Breckland Council to see how the site can be of service during the pandemic. Photo: Danny WhitehouseDanny Whitehouse is the Charles Burrell Centre's new chief executive and is in talks with Breckland Council to see how the site can be of service during the pandemic. Photo: Danny Whitehouse

“We are doing shopping, prescription collecting and hot meals and pack lunches every night and we are also a friendly voice if you need it,” she said.

“We haven’t stopped since the first lockdown and I think we have given away roughly 13,000 pack lunches.

“We are now seeing a lot more people who have lost their jobs and have never had to ask for help before.

“If anyone wold like to volunteer, or if someone needs our help, just email me at, shaz_eng_uk@hotmail.com, or contact me on my Facebook page.”

Anyone who needs a hot meal or free pack lunches can visit Pine Close Community Centre from 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

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