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In any normal year, I might have assumed I’d be using this November blog to talk to you about Christmas preparations, about our seasonal need for volunteers, and about the generous work which organisations across the county would be preparing to deliver.

Instead, I find myself talking to you in the midst of Lockdown 2.

What this new chapter means, of course, is that, just as before, our army of volunteers, community services, charitable support and neighbourly kindness is needed all over again – and arguably with even more urgency.

While last time around, the nation was experiencing lockdown with fresh eyes, less fatigue, less financial and emotional distress, and in sunnier conditions, today we find ourselves dealing with restriction against a much-changed landscape.

And yet, it is to the credit of our county’s collective response that the changes and the duration of this challenging time have in no way dimmed the motivation, enthusiasm and creativity within our resilient and resourceful sector.

When polled by Community Action Suffolk in recent days, some 350 organisations, groups, and charities told us they planned to again accelerate their response, rejuvenate their delivery, and do whatever they are able to, in order to help the county through Lockdown 2.

In fact, many expressed that, far from having to resume efforts and operations on behalf of the community, they had in fact not once let up on the momentum of their output since March!

Today, I don’t find myself issuing a timely November plea to you with Christmas in mind, as I typically would.

Instead, however, I’m asking for your immediate and generous support to help those 350 organisations to continue their incredibly important work.

Whether you can volunteer to collect prescriptions, carry out food shopping, telephone an elderly or house-bound Suffolk resident, or help in any number of other ways, then please, I urge you to consider the part you could play.

We have a need the full length and breadth of this county, but in particular I would welcome news of any individual or group seeking to provide community support in the area of Lowestoft – an area we believe  to be under resourced at the moment.

And please, if you have never formed a community support group before, or you’re an organisation keen to help but short on the funds with which to do your great work, do pick up the phone to my team and we can always help you with things like applications to the Covid fund led by Suffolk Community Foundation.

I am sure I echo the thoughts of all of the Community Action Suffolk team, when I say that I am so proud to be in a county which has already done so much for so many, and I am eternally grateful to all those of you who have helped so far.

I again applaud the many charities who are demonstrating their positivity and resilience through their exceptional and relentless work in meeting the needs of our neighbourhoods, families, and individuals.

Thank you. Your response continues to be what keeps the county’s heart beating.

**Perhaps you want to share the story of what your group or community has done? I’d be only too happy to use this space to convey that success, so by all means email me on [email protected]