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Join our Sunflower campaign in support of frontline services

PUBLISHED: 06:30 20 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:16 20 April 2020

Emergency services Sunflower campaign launch. Wymondham Police HQ, Special SGT Tony Kimberley, Ambulance Community Response Manager Andrew Barlow, Firecrew Jack Coggins, Steve Woodgate, Rob Breen, SGT Vicki Briggs and Special Constable Georgie Role.Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Emergency services Sunflower campaign launch. Wymondham Police HQ, Special SGT Tony Kimberley, Ambulance Community Response Manager Andrew Barlow, Firecrew Jack Coggins, Steve Woodgate, Rob Breen, SGT Vicki Briggs and Special Constable Georgie Role.Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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Norfolk’s emergency services have come together to offer people and communities across Norfolk some much-needed sunshine during the coronavirus lockdown.

Emergency services Sunflower campaign launch. Wymondham Police HQ, Wymondham. Fire Services Jack Coggins. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANEmergency services Sunflower campaign launch. Wymondham Police HQ, Wymondham. Fire Services Jack Coggins. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Over the past few weeks, Clap for Carers on a Thursday evening has become a weekly way of saluting our NHS heroes on the frontline of this fight against the Covid-19 virus.

And today blue light services across Norfolk, together with the EDP, have come together to launch a campaign offering families the chance to share some sunshine too.

People are being urged to put up drawn, painted or even knitted pictures of sunflowers in the windows of their homes across Norfolk which, when seen by police officers out on patrol – or other emergency services staff – could result in a packet of sunflower seeds being posted through the door to be grown.

The idea of the Sunflower campaign is to spread some positivity in difficult days, while encouraging communities to show solidarity for the stay at home message and sow the seeds for a brighter future.

Emergency services Sunflower campaign launch. Wymondham Police HQ, SGT Vicki Briggs who is launching the campaign handing out sunflower seeds to the public during COVID19 lockdown. Wymondham Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANEmergency services Sunflower campaign launch. Wymondham Police HQ, SGT Vicki Briggs who is launching the campaign handing out sunflower seeds to the public during COVID19 lockdown. Wymondham Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

The scheme, which complements the NHS Rainbow campaign, also helps to demonstrate how our emergency services and other agencies like delivery drivers and binmen are working together to help protect and support the NHS through these unprecedented times.

Norfolk Police’s assistant chief constable Julie Wvendth said: “The idea is to bring some sunshine and happiness to others at this challenging time and to try and replicate that physically by the growing of sunflowers outside people’s homes.”

The Norfolk force has been supplied with 10,000 packets of seeds, from Woodgate Nursery in Aylsham, which will be given to those displaying posters with instructions to grow them in their front gardens so they can show that the county is united.

Mrs Wvendth said: “It’s bringing everyone together at this time.”

Emergency services Sunflower campaign launch. Wymondham Police HQ, Wymondham. Ambulance Community Response Manager, Andrew Barlow.  Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANEmergency services Sunflower campaign launch. Wymondham Police HQ, Wymondham. Ambulance Community Response Manager, Andrew Barlow. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

She added that it was a way of helping to bring people – and communities – together in support of all emergency services and key workers and create a vibrant, living tribute to the emergency services battling to save lives and keep us all safe.

The campaign has been backed by emergency services across Norfolk, including the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST).

Andrew Barlow, community response manager, said: “What a good idea to spread some positivity and give people staying home a project for the lockdown season. We are keen to support this among our crews and our volunteer community first responders.

“This is the community planting seeds for a sunnier future, and we would also like to plant some seeds to grow the next generation of volunteer CFRs and specials.”

Tim Edwards, assistant chief fire officer at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are proud of how closely all our emergency services in Norfolk are working during this pandemic and delighted to see the EDP launch this campaign to bring a bit of brightness during a difficult time for everyone.

“We look forward to seeing the sunflowers as we pass by as part of our daily work in communities and would remind everyone to stay safe at home.”

A spokesman for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), which on Thursday evening became a focal point for police officers saluting the work they have been doing during the weekly Clap for Carers event, said: “We have received tremendous support from our local community who have given so much of their time and skills to help us.

“Being outdoors and growing plants is good for our mental health and the Sunflower campaign will add to our sense of wellbeing over the coming months, as well as showing support for our public services.”

The positive message of the campaign has also struck a chord with Lorne Greene, Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, who said: “I’m really happy to support such a positive campaign.

“The sunflower is known to be a happy flower; it can bring joy to a person’s day. Let’s hope this initiative helps to spread a little positive cheer and sunshine across Norfolk and in turn help the sunflowers to thrive.

“Small gestures can make such a big difference to us all, young and old alike. May the sunflower bring a little sunshine into your life and help chase away the gloom.”

How to get involved

People in households across Norfolk are being urged to spread some much-needed sunshine by taking part in the sunflower campaign.

Anyone wanting to take part should create a poster or picture of a sunflower to put in their window or they can colour in posters, like the one in today’s paper, or that can be downloaded from the websites of the county’s emergency services.

Once put up in windows if a police officer – or member of the other blue light services – spots a sunflower in your window while out working, they will post sunflower seeds through the door to plant.

The sunflower was chosen because it can be planted and families can watch it grow over the next few weeks and months helping to provide something to look forward to.

People can then tag @EDP24 @NorfolkPolice @EastEnglandAmb @NorfolkFire and @NorfolkPCC with their creations on social media.


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