Over the past few days I have been in close discussions with the leader of Suffolk County Council about how we can best support those who need it most in Ipswich, especially over the half term break.
The Suffolk Hardship Fund of over £1.5 million has been made possible from additional funds that have been provided by the Government to support the most vulnerable families during the Covid pandemic. This flexible, localised approach means that local councils can decide how funding is best utilised for each area.
During my discussions it was made clear that those who are eligible for free school meals who are concerned about this half term can claim support. Not just for food but other targeted support as well.
The Suffolk Hardship Fund means that the most vulnerable can access financial help with anything from food and fuel vouchers to school uniform and essential furniture. There is also now a phone line which can help with debt advice, rent, mortgage and credit card advice.
If anybody has any questions or needs further support on this please do not hesitate to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office on 0207 219 3000.
This localised approach is an effective way of providing support for vulnerable people in Ipswich and isn’t confined to just food vouchers. This allows Suffolk County Council to provide a much wider blanket of support for those in need.
And following the Prime Minister’s comments yesterday, where he outlined the Government’s commitment to ensuring that no child goes hungry, I am confident that further support for vulnerable children will be forthcoming.
Raised the BSC Multicultural Services Charity today and the excellent work they’re doing to support disadvantaged people in Ipswich from over 50 different nationalities. During Covid-19 they have been delivering hundreds of food parcels to vulnerable people. But this virus has also severely impacted their ability to raise funds.
This type of community-led support is irreplaceable and it’s right that we do everything we can now to ensure it’s still there for our town in the future. It’s important to raise support for charities in Parliament but one of the reasons why I became an Ambassador is to support BSC Multicultural Services on the ground as well. And I’m looking forward to becoming much more closely involved in their work in Ipswich.
This evening I gave a speech about Ipswich’s churches and the effect Covid-19 has had on them. Our churches are fundamental part of the story of our town and they remain central to life in Ipswich today. Their closure has been particularly difficult for many in Ipswich who go to them to worship or to access important community services. That’s why I called on the Government to make support available to them if necessary.
I directly raised two community services provided at churches in Ipswich which sadly won’t be reopening after the lockdown because of the financial pressures of Covid-19 – the Quay Place wellbeing centre at the St Mary at the Quay church near the Waterfront and the Tourist Information Centre at St Stephen’s Church. Both these services have had a hugely positive impact on our town over the years and it won’t feel like going back to normal without them.
But as I said in my speech, both these churches have gone through difficult patches in the past and it’s now up to us to find new uses for them so they can continue to serve future generations. And I’m glad the Minister was able to provide assurances that the Churches Conservation Trust is working to ensure that the St Mary at the Quay church can reopen and serve our community again.
Last week, I also visited the St Lawrence Café at St Lawrence church which has recently reopened. The café has been sorely missed during lockdown and it’s good to see it back up and running. I was able to speak to the wonderful staff there about the challenges around reopening and let them know they have my full backing. I’ve also been in close contact with local church leaders during the Covid-19 outbreak and I’ve been clear that they and their congregations have my full support as Ipswich’s MP. I’ll continue to do everything I can to support all our local churches as we embark on our recovery from the virus.
My aim was to raise about £2,000 so I’m glad we ending up raising a little bit more than that. I would like to thank all of those who made a donation, I think it goes to show how many people value the work AGE UK SUFFOLK carry out.
As people will see I really went for it with the shaver. I didn’t do it by half measures. It feels more comfortable that the long out of control hair I had a few days ago but to be honest I’m not sure about the look and the DIY approach to hair cutting was just a one off, I look forward to be back at the hairdressers in the not too distant future.
AGE UK SUFFOLK is one of many local charities playing a pivotal role during the COVID-19 outbreak supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our community. At a time when the role that local charities have to play has never been more important there are a number of challenges that have made traditional fundraising activities difficult. We need charities such as AGE UK SUFFOLK more than ever and I would encourage people to supporting them in whatever way they can.
Comment from Jo Reeder, Head of Fundraising and Marketing, AGE UK SUFFOLK:
“We were delighted and slightly surprised when Mr Hunt’s office got in touch to say that he would like to support us in this great initiative. Mr Hunt has supported Age UK Suffolk from the outset of the coronavirus outbreak and is talking to older constituents, raising older people’s concerns in parliament and generally advocating the needs of older people at this difficult time. This incredible amount raised, will help us to continue our vital work in supporting people on a daily basis with shopping and welfare calls.”
My hair has become increasingly ridiculous over the past few weeks. The situation is unsustainable. Therefore I have decided to shave it off for a good cause. The clippers have been ordered and will be with me imminently. I will be raising money for Age UK Suffolk. Never have they been more needed as an organisation. They have provided invaluable support to elderly members of our community over the past few months and they really need and deserve all the support we’re able to offer.
Please do donate what you can. Please click below to donate: –