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Here to Help campaign relaunches to support communities

PUBLISHED: 06:30 06 November 2020 | UPDATED: 11:40 06 November 2020

The Luncheon Club in Coltishall usually meets in the Church Rooms each week, but during the initial coronavirus lockdown, the club changed their license so that they are able to deliver to their members, most of whom are vulnerable. Picture shows (from left to right) volunteers Julie Annison, Jane Robins and Di Smith. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLME

The Luncheon Club in Coltishall usually meets in the Church Rooms each week, but during the initial coronavirus lockdown, the club changed their license so that they are able to deliver to their members, most of whom are vulnerable. Picture shows (from left to right) volunteers Julie Annison, Jane Robins and Di Smith. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLME

Archant 2020

Your community needs YOU!

Norfolk Here to Help campaign logo. Picture: ArchantNorfolk Here to Help campaign logo. Picture: Archant

That’s the rallying cry today as this newspaper relaunches its Here to Help campaign, in association with Norfolk County Council.

When the first lockdown hit in March, the campaign helped to encourage dozens of people to help in their community – whilst we made sure those who were doing good received coverage to ensure people knew about it.

And that same spirit is needed once more over the next few weeks, as the second lockdown threatens to isolate thousands and leave many needing support.

If you are – or can – do something to help your neighbours, friends, village, town or city, then please make sure you tell us about it.

Editor David Powles. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.Editor David Powles. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.

Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News editor, David Powles, said: “During the first lockdown we saw a tremendous effort by so many people to help others in their community and we are asking for that spirit of togetherness to return.

“With the winter months upon us, it could be there’s an even greater need out there for people to be checked on, helped with groceries and collections, stopped from feeling lonely or isolated or simply just to be made aware someone is looking out for them.

“I urge people in streets, communities, villages, towns and the city to have a think about what they can do. If they can help, we’ll make sure people know the support is out there.”

Andrew Proctor, chair of the Norfolk Local Engagement Board and leader of NCC, said: “Now, more than ever we need to pull together to keep each other safe – that means looking out for those who are vulnerable, isolated, or need help with shopping or medication.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Picture: Archant Library.Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Picture: Archant Library.

“During the last lockdown hundreds of people formally or informally volunteered their time and energy. We’re hugely grateful and we need that kind of community response again. That’s why we’re working with the EDP and Evening News on the Here to Help campaign and asking local communities to do their bit.”

A number of Norfolk MPs are also backing the campaign.

Duncan Baker, North Norfolk MP, said: “Across north Norfolk I have witnessed some of the most amazing acts of kindness from such inspirational and selfless people. I fully endorse the Here to Help campaign to ensure these special people are recognised again.”

Mid Norfolk MP, George Freeman, echoed his ethos and added: “The coronavirus crisis has shown Norfolk’s traditional sense of community and neighbourliness is alive and well.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker. Picture: Supplied by Duncan BakerNorth Norfolk MP Duncan Baker. Picture: Supplied by Duncan Baker

“We’ll need that spirit again in these next few winter months.”

And Norwich North MP Chloe Smith urged people to stay positive: “If we keep up all our effort, and our community spirit, we will get through it to the other side.”

- Let us know what you are doing by emailing Donna-Louise Bishop on donna-louise.bishop@archant.co.uk

- Follow updates on the Facebook groups Norfolk Coronavirus Updates and Coronavirus in Norfolk: Support and Advice .

George Freeman MP. Picture: Ian BurtGeorge Freeman MP. Picture: Ian Burt

Age UK Norfolk seeks more volunteers for telephone befriending service

Loneliness can affect anyone, but older people are particularly at risk with Norfolk County Council estimating 38,000 are lonely in the county.

Chloe Smith, MP. Picture: Archant NorfolkChloe Smith, MP. Picture: Archant Norfolk

Age UK Norfolk has been running a telephone befriending service for more than 10 years, providing regular friendly phone calls to older people who often do not have anyone else to talk to.

During lockdown, the charity had a positive response to appeals for volunteers to help with telephone befriending, which sees them making a friendly phone call every week to an older person in Norfolk.

The service continues to receive requests, leaving the charity in need of additional volunteers.

To find out more about volunteering, email volunteering@ageuknorfolk.org.uk or visit the website , or to contact the telephone befriending service, ring 01603 785 223 or email befriending@ageuknorfolk.org.uk. For more information or advice, ring 0300 500 1217 or email advice@ageuknorfolk.org.uk

How you can help in your community during lockdown

- Get involved in the conversation online and look for support groups on social media

- Volunteer to help local support groups in your community

- Become an NHS volunteer responder

- Help charities that help others, either financially or by offering your time

- Check on a neighbour, especially ones who may be vulnerable, live alone, or need extra care

- Help better yourself by taking an online course

- Support independent artists by buying their music, books, paintings, and crafts

- Buy vouchers from local and independent cafes and restaurants

- Do online shopping from local and independent traders

- Be kind

- Support a food bank

- Organised an online meet up with friends and loved ones

- Reach out to homeless charities to offer help and donations


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