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Chief Executive April Blog

Chief Executive Blog – Chris on Covid 19 Community Response

It has always felt something of a privilege to me, to get to work in a sector which day on day, evidences the incredible ways in which people help and support each other.

And now, as we acclimatise ourselves to a vastly different world in the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic, it feels to me like we are seeing that human spirit and those acts of selfless kindness in a way we’ve not perhaps seen previously in peace-time Britain.

From the moment the Prime Minister announced the first restrictive measures to protect ourselves from Covid 19, my colleagues and I began witnessing a tidal wave of desire among Suffolk residents to help in their community.

It was both humbling and heart-warming.

Neighbours began launching initiatives to help those more vulnerable, existing charities began adapting their services in order to reach those in need, and individuals raised their hand and asked to help in whatever way they could.

I thank each and every one of those groups and individuals who have so far stepped forward and been playing a vital role in the county, by ferrying shopping, delivering meals or prescriptions, checking in on others, or simply staying in contact by phone.

The vital question, of course, is how we can ensure that these activities and communities and individuals remain resilient in their mission.

Should days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, what will help to safeguard those brilliant acts of generosity, in a time when finances are already tight (and tightening) for charities in our community, and when resource potentially becomes less available or accessible?

At CAS, our priority is to do all we can to keep these ventures delivering their generous and spirited duties, through knowledge share, connections and relentless (if physically distant) support.

Alongside this, we are committed to the safety of every group or individual who is now thrust into a volunteering role during this unprecedented period.

Volunteers have always been key to our ability to thrive as a community in Suffolk, and never more so than now.

But keeping that volunteer army safe and well must remain at the heart of everything. It should underpin all that is carried out in our towns and villages across the county, both during Covid 19, and subsequently.

If you haven’t yet visited our website or been in direct contact with us in the days since Suffolk began to respond so emphatically to the pandemic, you may not yet know about the incredible work we’ve been doing – in partnership with Suffolk Community Foundation and Suffolk Association of Local Councils – to swiftly provide all the resources and support you and your community could possibly want, when it comes to establishing and running a meaningful initiative in your neighbourhood.

I would urge everyone to visit our Covid 19 response section, and to take a look at our invaluable downloads and resources.

These have been written by our experts to help provide the right information and guidance, whether you’re befriending by phone, taking shopping to those in isolation, or are yet to set up a project which you think will be invaluable to those you live near.

While none of us yet know for how long we may be living through this period of social distancing and Covid 19 uncertainty, it’s clear that we are in for a significant chapter in which we all need to look after ourselves, and those around us.

I’ll end with a personal thank you to every single one of you who has already delivered a generous act of kindness and support in your community, and who intends to continue doing so through this challenging time.

Your contribution is vital to Suffolk, and my team and I applaud you all.

**What are you doing to make a difference in and for your community during Covid 19? We’d love to hear from you with your stories of support, positivity and proactivity. Please email me directly at chris.abraham@communityactionsuffolk.org.uk