Since lockdown restrictions came into place earlier this year, our team has distributed more than 500 of our “Mental Health Packs” to people living within Suffolk.

Using funding from The National Lottery Community Fund we have been putting together packs to help alleviate some of the issues caused by loneliness and boredom, with each pack made up of supplies such as CDs, DVDs, books, puzzles and clothing to keep people occupied whilst they stay indoors

To date, Emmaus Suffolk has distributed over 500 packs, many via organisations including IHAG Chapman Centre, HomeStart and Turning Point. The project aims to support people that have been in vulnerable situations throughout the pandemic and are highly susceptible to anxiety, mental health issues and further socially isolated. This includes people previously sleeping rough who have been housed in temporary accommodation as a response to COVID-19, people in hostel accommodation and those that are shielding with pre-existing conditions that make them highly vulnerable to COVID-19.

The grant of £31,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund means we are able to work with even more people to provide these packs, and we would like to hear from any organisations working with vulnerable or socially excluded people who would benefit from one of the packs. Please get in touch by emailing [email protected].  Individual packs can be collected by prior arrangement from Emmaus Suffolk sites in Ipswich or Felixstowe.

We have also been working hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to support residents in need of urgent items such as shoes, clothing and food through referrals from local agencies and organisations. We have supplied furniture and vital home equipment for those who have been homed in empty properties during lockdown, ensure people can maintain their accommodation.

Claire Staddon, Chief Executive of Emmaus Suffolk, said:

Many of the people being supported by this new project were highly vulnerable prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and these issues are now being exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic. Our mental health packs, along with the regular phone calls from our team of volunteers, are helping to alleviate some of the issues around boredom and loneliness, and has helped to encourage them to stay at home when needed to protect themselves and others from COVID-19”

“As a local community-based organisation, Emmaus Suffolk is well placed to deliver this work and to respond to this emergency. Our staff and volunteers at our hubs in Ipswich and Felixstowe have worked hard throughout lockdown to ensure those who rely on our services still receive the support they need.

“The funding from The National Lottery Community Fund means we can continue to produce many more of these packs over the next few months, and we’d love to hear from more community groups or organisations whose clients could benefit from one of our Mental Health packs.”