‘Lifeline’ helpline to return during lockdown to boost a community

John Ward, chairman of the Pakefield Community Group, with his wife Ann. Pictures: Mick Howes

John Ward, chairman of the Pakefield Community Group, with his wife Ann. Pictures: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

It is a helpline that “became a lifeline” for many during the first national lockdown.

John Ward, chairman of the Pakefield Community Group with his wife Ann. Pictures: Mick Howes

John Ward, chairman of the Pakefield Community Group with his wife Ann. Pictures: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

And now, amid the continuing coronavirus crisis, a vital service is set to resume on Monday, November 9 to meet the needs of a community in Lowestoft.

After prime minister Boris Johnson announced a month-long national lockdown last weekend, the Pakefield Community Group is now ready to respond once more.

John Ward, chairman of the Pakefield Community Group. Pictures: Mick Howes

John Ward, chairman of the Pakefield Community Group. Pictures: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

Within the first few days of the first lockdown, the group had set up a community helpline to provide support to vulnerable people in Pakefield.

This included help with shopping, collecting prescriptions, walking dogs, running errands, signposting to other organisations and providing support.

John Ward, chairman of the Pakefield Community Group, with his wife Ann. Pictures: Mick Howes

John Ward, chairman of the Pakefield Community Group, with his wife Ann. Pictures: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant


You may also want to watch:


Chairman John Ward and his wife Ann co-ordinated the response – as the couple’s lounge was transformed into an office to deal with the demand.

Mr Ward said: “It was more or less before lockdown started, I could see that something was needed for getting help in the community.

Most Read

“So we set the helpline up straight away after delivering leaflets to all of Pakefield, and then the volunteers came on board.

“We managed to get more than 40 volunteers come forward to help us assist over 150 community members with their essential needs.

“Through the lockdown period my wife and I were able to co-ordinate efforts and run a daily helpline from our home responding to more than 800 requests for assistance.

“When we started I thought we may get 10 or so calls a week, but at the height of the lockdown we were doing 35 to 40 referrals a day.

“We had a daily rota and allocated all the jobs out – the volunteers were fantastic.”

Such was the reaction, and success of the helpline, that Mr Ward and the Pakefield Community Group were featured in a ‘celebration of our local heroes’ as East Suffolk Council saluted them in a booklet that highlights the community response to Covid-19.

Mr Ward added: “Without a doubt our helpline became a lifeline for many, and so we are aiming to reintroduce it as from Monday, November 9, initially just from 10am to noon.

“Although we may not have as many volunteers at our disposal as the last lockdown, we will not turn away any requests for assistance to try and ensure that everyone gets the help they need.

“Its been very worthwhile.

“There is a lot more help about now, and the main thing is to make sure we can help out – we are here for them.

“Its good for Pakefield, that’s the main thing.”

If someone in the Pakefield community needs assistance, call 01502 582964.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus