This is how you can help vulnerable people in Norfolk this winter
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As Norfolk heads into a second winter lockdown, many more people will feel its devastating effects than usual. But this year’s ‘Surviving the Covid Winter’ appeal, launched by the Norfolk Community Foundation and the Eastern Daily Press, is one way you can help those at risk.
Claire Cullens, CEO for the Norfolk Community Foundation visited Archant’s headquarters, in Norwich, to answer questions from EDP editor, David Powles.
Tell us more about the origins of this appeal.
Ms Cullens said: “Surviving Winter is an appeal we run every year at the community foundation and have done for some time. We realise that in winter, there are certain things that can be much worse for people.
“If you’re elderly, or someone that might be struggling to make decisions like ‘how am I going to afford to feed the family or heat the home?’.
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“Or if you’re somebody who is sleeping rough on the streets, what does winter look like?
“The surviving winter campaign has always existed to help people at those times.
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“This year we just know it’s going to be so much worse. So many more people are going to need help. We wanted to focus it on those people who are really struggling with the impact of Covid.”
How successful has it been in recent years?
Ms Cullens said: “For those people who are lonely and isolated, it has allowed them to be contacted regularly. For some people, they have been at home all day, and they haven’t spoken to anybody and that one call and that contact has made the absolute world of difference.
“I think back to some people who were rough sleeping and we managed to get them into emergency accommodation and get them into a place where they had a bed for the night. In doing that, it actually helped to break the cycle of rough sleeping and move them into a new future.
“It has brought communities and people together.”
How is it decided where the money goes?
Ms Cullens said: “As a community foundation we work with all of the local charities and community groups and they request funding because they have a particular project which is responding to an area of need.
“A group might need funding to provide lunches or befriending support and they apply to us to make sure that funding is there.
“There are always some areas that will need support on an ongoing basis, but as different problems emerge, someone will pop up and say I want to do something and make a difference here.
“One in four people last year received some benefit from the community foundation funding – which is amazing.”
How important is the support of readers of the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News?
Ms Cullens said: “It’s vital. We wouldn’t be able to do surviving winter without the readers and every year they get behind us and they support us and every year we receive cheques from your readers. It wouldn’t exist without them.”
What are some of the key issues that charities are helping people deal with? Are those issues changing?
Ms Cullens said: “Overall, our reflection would be what Covid has done is exacerbate the problems. For many people who were living on the margins and struggling to make ends meet, what Covid has done has pushed them into real poverty.
“We have a rising number of people struggling to put food on the table. We are seeing people that are isolating because of age, or vulnerability, feeling even more isolated and lonely and wondering what the future holds for them.
“Life just doesn’t feel normal for anybody anymore.”
How will this appeal help struggling families specifically?
Ms Cullens said: “An example of a project is The Phoenix Centre in Mile Cross, Norwich. They wanted to put a programme that provided meals for the children in the school holidays.
“They came to us and said we have got a programme we need equip our community centre and provide food for these families and that is what our funding has done.”
To donate visit the ‘Surviving the Covid Winter appeal’ site here, https://www.norfolkfoundation.com/giving-philanthropy/surviving-the-covid-winter/.