Here to Help: Where to find a helping hand during second lockdown

Chris Elliott of The Feed (left) and Ollie Blackmore of Selesti (right) outside The Feed cafe on Pri

Chris Elliott of The Feed (left) and Ollie Blackmore of Selesti (right) outside The Feed cafe on Prince of Wales Road. Picture: THE FEED - Credit: Picture: THE FEED

We issued a rallying cry urging communities to come together once again - and so far you have absolutely delivered on it.

Jeremy Rowe set up the Hub in Loddon. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Jeremy Rowe set up the Hub in Loddon. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Following the relaunch of this newspaper’s Here to Help campaign , in association with Norfolk County Council, we have heard from dozens of groups and organisations coming together to help others in need.

When the first lockdown hit in March, the campaign encouraged individuals to help in their community, while we made sure to shout about it to let others know what support was out there.

And already we have been inundated with a variety of initiatives going on in Norfolk and Suffolk.

In Norwich, The Feed will be delivering extra support for people in the city during the coming weeks. The social enterprise, based on Prince of Wales Road, will be providing three meals a day for people in temporary accommodation who have previously been rough sleeping. A hot meal and hot drink will be delivered to them daily and supplemented with food for two further meals. This will be in place throughout the planned lockdown period until December 2.

John Ward, chairman of the Pakefield Community Group. Pictures: Mick Howes

John Ward, chairman of the Pakefield Community Group. Pictures: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

Funding for this service has been donated by digital marketing agency Selesti. Its chief executive, Ollie Blackmore, said: “The team and I are in awe of the fantastic work The Feed do. We’re delighted to offer our support and hope it not only inspires other businesses too but more importantly, really makes a difference right now when it’s needed most. We love working with and supporting organisations who make a positive impact. We are looking forward to offering further support over the coming months.”


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Chris Elliott, corporate relations officer at The Feed, added: “We wanted to act quickly to provide hot food and drinks to those affected by the new lockdown and with winter having arrived. Selesti’s support meant we could put our plans in place straight away.”

Through the first lockdown, The Feed distributed 4,500 food parcels and meals. Craig Grant runs the Netherton Steakhouse in Long Stratton and has launched an appeal for people to donate Christmas gifts to those struggling this year. They need to be either delivered to the restaurant or available for collection by December 18. He will then deliver in the local community on December 20 and 21. Mr Grant is also giving away a free Christmas lunch to a nominated family, which just needs to be reheated at home. All gifts need to be new due to Covid and you can find out more on the Netherton Steakhouse Facebook page .

In the Loddon area, community group ChetChat has been set up. Its aim is to tackle loneliness in the community by offering friendship, initially for the over 60s, but also anyone who needs some support. During lockdown, local councillor Jeremy Rowe created the Hub to help the vulnerable and shielding by running errands and also monitoring the flow of customers into Boots in Loddon.

John Ward, chairman of the Pakefield Community Group. Pictures: Mick Howes

John Ward, chairman of the Pakefield Community Group. Pictures: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

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At its peak, the Hub was fielding up to 40 requests a day, mainly shopping and prescription errands. Volunteers responded to every request via a WhatsApp group. As a result, ChetChat was formed at the end of lockdown and is now run on similar lines to the original Hub, but with the view of becoming a permanent fixture by befriending the elderly and offering practical support - things like a phone call, walking a dog, or changing a light bulb.

Anyone wanting help, or seeking support for an elderly relative can phone 07876 050110.

Norfolk Adult Learning is offering free online courses in cookery, mental wellbeing and yoga as well as personal finance, jobs, computer and business skills. It also offers a coffee and chat drop in for help with any issues and course guidance.

There is more information on the Norfolk Adult Learning website .

Director Craig Grant with his Christmas decorations up early at the Netherton Steakhouse in Long Str

Director Craig Grant with his Christmas decorations up early at the Netherton Steakhouse in Long Stratton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

In the Dereham area, volunteers are back on standby to help residents with their essential needs.

Dereham Cares, which was set up by Breckland district councillor Alison Webb, inset, together with Breckland district councillors Phillip Duigan and Hilary Bushell, helped hundreds of vulnerable people during the UK’s first lockdown earlier this year.

Now, the army of more than 100 volunteers are on standby to support people living in Dereham and Toftwood by delivering prescriptions, food parcels and making phone calls to vulnerable people in the community.

Commenting on the relaunch, Mrs Webb said: “Our volunteers helped with food deliveries, over 500 prescription collections and many phone calls in the first lockdown and I’m very humbled that many of these are only too happy to help our residents again”

The group are gearing up for a jump in demand during this lockdown. Credit: Coming Together

The group are gearing up for a jump in demand during this lockdown. Credit: Coming Together - Credit: Archant

To register for support visit the website .

The Pakefield Community Group is now ready to respond once more, providing support to vulnerable people in Pakefield, Lowestoft.

This includes help with shopping, collecting prescriptions, walking dogs, running errands, signposting to other organisations and providing support.

Chairman John Ward, inset, and his wife Ann have co-ordinated the response – and the couple’s lounge has been transformed into an office to deal with the demand.

Coming Together are back to deliver essential items to vulnerable members of the Waveney communtity.

Coming Together are back to deliver essential items to vulnerable members of the Waveney communtity. Credit: Coming Together - Credit: Archant

Mr Ward said: “It was more or less before lockdown started, I could see that something was needed for getting help in the community.

Call 01502 582964.

Also in Lowestoft, a vital service which helped the most vulnerable across Waveney during the first lockdown is back up and running.

Coming Together started off as a Facebook group during the first lockdown to help the most vulnerable and high risk across Waveney.

Alison Webb, the district councillor behind Dereham Cares. Picture: Alison Webb

Alison Webb, the district councillor behind Dereham Cares. Picture: Alison Webb - Credit: Archant

As lockdown was lifted in July, demand for the service decreased but as soon as a second national lockdown was announced, organisers decided to set up the service again, delivering essential foods and other items.

Gail Rajgor started off by donating essential items to the group during the first lockdown and now volunteers alongside her work as a business and environmental journalist.

She said: “It’s incredible the type of people who rely on our services and it shows the economic impact the pandemic can have on people in our community.” The team at Coming Together have been receiving several requests a day for help from people through their Facebook page .

- 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 .

Food boxes being delivered to vulnerable members of the community across Waveney. Credit: Coming Tog

Food boxes being delivered to vulnerable members of the community across Waveney. Credit: Coming Together - Credit: Archant

Food deliveries sent out by Coming Together during the first national lockdown. Credit: Coming Toget

Food deliveries sent out by Coming Together during the first national lockdown. Credit: Coming Together - Credit: Archant

Norfolk Here to Help campaign logo. Picture: Archant

Norfolk Here to Help campaign logo. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

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