Community Action Suffolk – Supporting Volunteers, Communities & Organisations During Covid-19

As we all make our way through these uncertain times, Community Action Suffolk (CAS) is continuing to support organisations and volunteers to deliver vital services in communities. Not only are organisations across Suffolk continuing their usual services wherever possible, but there is also an incredible rise in activity with many organisations changing and adding to their offer to meet the huge rise in demand. Alongside this, the surge in people wanting to do whatever they can, however big or small, to care for others is truly heart-warming.

CAS has been involved in supporting a whole range of groups and ‘movements’ to promote themselves and encourage others to follow suit in recent weeks. Many of these spring from individuals who simply want to show they care to those in close proximity to them, from ‘Backyard Buddies’ and ‘Tear down the Fence’ initiatives, to groups of residents setting up ‘Emergency Response’ schemes akin to Good Neighbour Schemes. It is important to ensure that this is done in a supported and safe manner so CAS has produced a suite of new resources and guides to help with this which can be found on the website (details below).

In addition to work with local groups and organisations, CAS is also supporting various campaigns to recruit and support volunteers. The Suffolk Collaborative Communities Board, made up of key strategic partners from across the county including CAS, has recently launched the Tribe Volunteer app specifically to recruit volunteers during the pandemic in Suffolk alongside an accompanying telephone helpline for those in need of support. Volunteer Suffolk, the county’s volunteer brokerage portal for organisations that need volunteers is also still going strong.

If you would like to volunteer during Covid-19, or need to recruit volunteers for your organisation, click ‘I want to Volunteer’ on the homepage of the CAS website for more information on both these portals.

Suffolk’s business and voluntary sector community are also being encouraged to come together as part of a county-wide campaign to help more organisations deliver their important work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Volunteering Matters and Community Action Suffolk are collectively calling for charities, groups and social enterprises to let them know of their specific ‘need’ at this critical time, and for business leaders to step forward with help in areas such as planning, IT, legal advice, logistics and media relations. Businesses are encouraged to list how they would like to help. They can do so by completing the survey at: www.volunteeringmatters.org.uk/what-we-do/support-us/working-together

While all this is going on, CAS still has another ‘day job’ to do – to continue supporting the already established voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in Suffolk to stay operational, safe, well governed and as financially resilient as they can. We are continuously lobbying national government with the support of national partners to make provision for those on the ground carrying out activities. We cannot emphasise enough how important these groups and organisations are at this time and you too can help by showing your support on social media using #EveryDayCounts.

This is a challenging time for every Suffolk resident, but at CAS we never cease to be amazed by the dedication, commitment and kindness that Suffolk residents show on a daily basis, and we are so proud to be able to help our voluntary, community and social enterprise sector play their part. Stay safe, support each other, and keep going Suffolk, you are all incredible!

For more information on anything Community Action Suffolk is doing, or to contact us, visit www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk or follow @CASuffolk on Twitter.

Hannah Reid, Director of Innovation & Business Development

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