‘Loneliness, anxiety, uncertainty’ - Concerns for vulnerable people during second lockdown

Jon Clemo, chief executive of Community Action Norfolk, Sir Norman Lamb, former North Norfolk MP, an

Jon Clemo, chief executive of Community Action Norfolk, Sir Norman Lamb, former North Norfolk MP, and Revd Matthew Price, who leads a food bank in Gorleston, have been discussing the possible impacts of the second lockdown. Picture: Rik Martin/Jamie Honeywood/Diocese of Norwich. - Credit: Archant

Charities have warned the second national lockdown will leave some of society’s most vulnerable people facing loneliness and anxiety and struggling to make ends meet.

Hundreds of people have been supported by the emergency foodbank service in Great Yarmouth. Picture:

Hundreds of people have been supported by the emergency foodbank service in Great Yarmouth. Picture: The Rev Matthew Price - Credit: Archant

Reverend Matthew Price, who leads a food bank from St Mary Magadalene church in Gorleston, said he is expecting to see a “steady rise” in people using the facility.

“There is a group of people, vulnerable families, who just about cope with life, but this year’s pandemic has kicked them over the edge,” he said.

He also said there is a danger of people going hungry.

“I’ve spoken to three families who had nothing left in their cupboards, nothing left to feed the children that day. They were in crisis and they rang us.

Sir Norman Lamb. Picture: Sir Norman Lamb

Sir Norman Lamb. Picture: Sir Norman Lamb - Credit: Sir Norman Lamb

“After people reach the point of absolute crisis they reach out to us, otherwise they would be going hungry.”


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Sir Norman Lamb, former North Norfolk MP who last year set up a mental health and wellbeing fund, said a rise in anxiety is predictable, considering the twin impact of the pandemic and recession.

“There will be an inevitable impact on people’s mental health, if you think about the risk factors, things like unemployment, fear of unemployment, fear of debt, isolation, loneliness, these are all factors that increase the risk of descent into diagnosable mental ill health.

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“And these are all present as we head back into another lockdown.”

Community Action Norfolk Chief Executive Jon Clemo. Photo: Community Action Norfolk

Community Action Norfolk Chief Executive Jon Clemo. Photo: Community Action Norfolk - Credit: Archant

Mr Lamb is calling on the government to establish a resilience task force.

“Let’s plan for it now. That means funding resilience to support people much earlier on, to stop the crisis ratcheting out of control.”

Jon Clemo, chief executive of the Dereham-based Community Action Norfolk, said: “It’s going to be similar to the first wave, where some people, particularly in the shielding category, will either be reluctant to go outside or be more anxious, who will be more likely to need additional support.

“One side that is absolutely critical, which grew in importance over the first lockdown, is the impact on loneliness and isolation. For some people it will be general feelings of loneliness, anxiety, uncertainty,” he said.

Mr Clemo also said his organisation had been “braced” for furlough coming to an end.

“Now the extension is in place, what we’re not clear about is whether businesses will continue to employ people on a furlough basis, or say jobs are no longer long-term viable.”

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