Book sheds light on 'tireless' work charities and community groups carry out
- Credit: Norfolk Community Foundation
A local businessman hopes to give back to Norfolk charities and community groups through his illustrated book highlighting the 'tireless' efforts they carry out across the county.
The book named 'Norfolk at its best' has been produced by Kevin Keable to "shine a light on inspirational communities" in Norfolk, after he was inspired by the work of local charities and the Norfolk Community Foundation (NCF).
Mr Keable, who has been involved in charity fundraising efforts, recognises the impact the pandemic had on communities, from rises in cases of domestic abuse, those struggling with mental ill health, isolation and the increased use of food banks.
He said: “This book has been created to shed some light on those silent givers, those who support and help to forge a better community in our beautiful county.
"I have been so moved by these people and have been lucky enough to participate in some of their wonderful fundraising events and felt that they need more recognition for the unrelenting work that they do."
Mr Keable hopes the book, which features almost 100 groups, will help raise vital funds and awareness of the people and charitable organisations that provide services in Norfolk.
Some of the charities featured include SENsational Families, who provide support services and training for families with special educational needs and/or disabilities, the Daisy Programme, who support men and women living with or who have been affected by domestic abuse, and the Matthew Project, who support people impacted by drug and alcohol related issues.
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Claire Cullens, CEO of NCF, said: “Across Norfolk, local charities and community groups are working tirelessly to provide care, support and companionship to those of us most in need.
"At the Foundation, we are inspired every day by the compassion and commitment of these vital groups, and we’re delighted to shine a light on just some of their amazing stories in this book.”
Sir Norman Lamb said the book is a celebration of the "selfless effort" carried out to support many vulnerable people across the county.
The challenges our charities face and how they provide support:
Simon Wright, CEO of Nelson's Journey, said the past 18 months have been "tremendously challenging" for the bereaved children and young people they support, and in the way charities provide their services.
He added: "Following the death of someone significant and for many of those families the experience through the pandemic has been even more challenging because of the restrictions on how they can meet and how they can grieve together, funeral attendances have been hit, and children haven't been able to see their peers and family at the times that they most needed it in some cases."
The CEO said changing the way they provide services during the pandemic, keeping staff and users safe, and holding fundraising events were the most significant challenges, at a time where the need has been "so great".
He added: "With Christmas coming up particularly, it is a time where lots of people think about charities and I'd ask people to consider if there are causes locally close to their heart, such as Nelson's Journey, that they would feel able to support.
"We're really going to need it."
Andy Sexton, CEO of the Matthew Project, shared a similar message, saying the charity relies heavily on public support.
He said: "The Matthew Project has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to support children affected by substance misuse, or with mental health and other issues, as well as veterans and adults in recovery.
"It has been widely publicised during the pandemic that there has been an increase in alcohol use, and mental health issues.
"As a charity we have responded by adding capacity to our Next Steps adult recovery team with a worker starting in the east and one in the west of Norfolk, with Norfolk County Council Public Health support.
"We have also intensified our support for young people affected by the substance misuse of others, as well as children with low-level mental health issues, in areas where the data has shown the largest increase in need, and which happen to be in less well-served areas of Norfolk particularly in the north and west."
SENsational Families said it has also been a difficult time for the families they work with, who have been unable to access their usual support networks and with staff having to adapt to meet the continuing demand on their services.
The charity said it is busy with a waiting list that is longer than usual due to the pandemic and is looking to expand its Family Support Advisor team when funding allows.
Andrea Bell, interim head of children and family services, said: “We are really excited about the illustrated book.
"Kevin has been wonderful to work with throughout. It highlights the great work Norfolk does that can often be forgotten. The pandemic has proven the hard work these organisations do.”
Norfolk at its best can be purchased online at www.norfolkfoundation.com/giving-and-philanthropy/norfolk-at-its-best, with 100pc of sales going to NCF to support the work of local charities and community groups.
It is also on sale at the Book Hive and Jarrolds in Norwich.
From November 30 to December 7, gifts to the Matthew Project will be doubled through the Big Give Christmas Challenge. For more visit www.matthewproject.org/the-big-give-christmas-challenge