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Case Studies from the Sector: Emmaus Suffolk

Emmaus Suffolk is a charity which works with vulnerable, socially isolated people and those at risk of homelessness across the county.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Emmaus Suffolk got busy. Read their story to see what they’ve been up to…

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Full text version:

When we went into a national lockdown at the end of March 2020, we had to shut all our shops and stop all our volunteers coming in. We realised that many of them would now be isolated on their own, so we tried to think of ways to help people get through this period. That’s how the mental health boredom packs were born.

Made with items from our shops, and funded by the Covid-19 Response Fund from Suffolk Foundation, the first packs contained DVDs, books, CDs, printed off puzzle sheets, an Easter gift and some basic toiletries, along with a handwritten card. We later added playing cards and puzzle books too!

We extended the offer, and between April and July we made 595 packs. In August, we received further funding from the Big Lottery Covid Support Fund to continue making the packs until the end of the year. We started getting a lot of requests. We now made the packs into gifts that could be kept, buying in things we hoped would make a real difference to people. As restrictions started to pick up again, we added things like face masks, hand wash and sanitizer.

We also started to attract donations: thermal and bamboo socks from Sock Shop, over 500 brand new T-shirts, 80 hand knitted woolly hats, books, puzzles and toiletries from local members of the community and 100 Easter Eggs, right at the beginning, from Sainsburys. By November, we were making 200 packs per month for over 28 partnership agencies – and in total, we made and delivered 1,449 packs in 2020!

One recipient, Julie, said, ‘thank you so much for my boredom pack. I can’t express how grateful I am and thank you for your kind service.”