For further information on Coronavirus (COVID 19) please go to: https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/

COVID 19 - Latest SRF News

 

Published 24th November 2020

Help us to help you this winter

Suffolk residents are being urged to support their physical and emotional wellbeing this winter and to get help early if they have any concerns.

As we head into winter, with ongoing restrictions on our daily lives related to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is vital to know what support is out there and to seek help if you need it.

Seeking medical help remains one of the reasons that people can safely leave home during the current national restrictions, in line with government guidance. The current restrictions are helping to protect this capacity within our NHS, meaning that the NHS is still there for patients without coronavirus who need urgent and emergency services for stroke, heart attack, and other killer conditions.

Dr Mark Shenton, chairman of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and Professor of Integrated Care at the University of Suffolk, said:

“The NHS is open to support people’s physical and mental health needs, and it’s important no-one puts off seeking help as that could lead to the condition deteriorating.

“You can seek help in a number of ways, such as NHS 111 by telephone or online. Your local pharmacy is a very good source of advice, with many open long hours and you don’t need an appointment to speak with the pharmacist. GP practice staff are there to help, and we urge you to make contact by ‘phone or online - once you contact your practice someone will get back in touch with you - it might not always be a GP, it could be a physician associate, a nurse, pharmacist or physiotherapist depending on your medical need.

“There are lots of online resources to support your mental health available from Wellbeing Suffolk and if you need to talk, Suffolk has a 24/7 mental health support line, First Response, meaning you can speak to someone anytime on 0808 196 3494.”

Support is still in place for anyone who is struggling with emotional or physical wellbeing due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Support for those who are self-isolating, including financial support, access to food and general advice is also available.

The Covid Hub acts as a gateway to local services which can provide support for a range of things covering emotional and physical wellbeing. If you need ideas on how to look after you and your family’s mental health and wellbeing, visit the covid-19 information hub. 

www.healthysuffolk.org.uk/covidhub 

Stuart Keeble, Director of Public Health Suffolk, said:

“As we head into the colder months of the year, faced with ongoing restrictions on our daily lives in the effort to control the Coronavirus pandemic and save lives, it is vital that we take steps to look after our physical and emotional wellbeing.

“This year has brought new challenges, we have all needed to adapt to a new ‘normal’. We must remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint and small changes to our daily routine can help us to feel better and more able to cope with an ever-changing environment.

“If you, or anyone you know is struggling, please remember that support is still available. Visit the Covid Hub to find the right help for you.”

During the first wave of the pandemic in March, the Suffolk Resilience Forum acted swiftly to put in place support for Suffolk residents, including the Home But Not Alone phone line 0800 876 6926. This support remains in place for the coming winter.

Visit the covid-19 information hub at www.healthysuffolk.org.uk/covidhub to find support in Suffolk. Services which can be accessed within the Covid Hub include:

  • Suffolk Advice and Support Service If you need to talk to someone about your finances and how you can access help please call the SASS service on 0800 068 3131
  • NSFT & Suffolk Mind If you need to talk to someone about your mental health and wellbeing please get in touch with NSFT: 0300 123 1503 Suffolk Mind: 0300 111 6000
  • First Response If you or someone you know is in mental health crisis please call First Response 0808 196 3494
  • Domestic Abuse Helpline Are you a victim of domestic violence and abuse? Call the Suffolk 24-hour Freephone Helpline 0800 977 5690. Are you hurting the one you love? Choose to stop. The Respect Phoneline 0808 802 4040
  • Physical activity Visit Keep Moving Suffolk for ideas to improve yours and your family’s physical activity levels. www.keepmovingsuffolk.com
  • The Source website Information and advice for young people in Suffolk, visit https://thesource.me.uk
  • Emotional Wellbeing Hub Support for young people, call 0345 600 2090 or visit  Emotional Wellbeing Gateway

 

Previous Press Releases

23rd October 2020

Make the right choices this Hallowe’en, don’t give coronavirus the chance to spread

Published 23 Oct 2020

Over Halloween with the number of Covid-19 cases increasing across Suffolk, residents must keep following the guidance to stop the virus spreading.

The Suffolk Resilience Forum is reminding people that we all have a responsibility to keep each other safe this half-term and Hallowe’en - the virus spreads when people get together and are in close contact.

In the last month, the weekly number of cases per 100,000 people in Suffolk has increased by 495%:

  • 24 September 2020: 8.01 cases per 100,000 people
  • 21 October 2020: 47.68 cases per 100,000 people

The following figures show how cases have been rising considerably across all areas of Suffolk.

Case rate per 100,000 population, as of 22 October:

 

This week

1 week ago

Babergh

63.0

55.4

East Suffolk

40.1

41.3

Ipswich

48.9

43.8

Mid Suffolk

60.6

39.5

West Suffolk

56.4

46.4

The guidance we must keep following is to:

  • Keep washing your hands with soap and water
  • Keep wearing a face covering when required
  • Keep 2 metres apart from those you do not live with if you go out
  • Keep sticking to the rule of six, indoors and outdoors – and remember that school bubbles do not apply outside school
  • Take hand sanitiser if you go out

Stuart Keeble, Director of Public Health Suffolk, said:

“With half-term and Hallowe’en around the corner, we would usually be getting together in each other’s houses, or meeting up to go trick or treating. This year we can still have fun, but we must take a step back and think about what is safe to do. The rules that keep us safe from Covid-19 every day apply just as much at Hallowe’en.

“There is a balance between protecting each other from the spread of the coronavirus, while still letting youngsters enjoy themselves. We must all keep each other safe – remember that younger people can have the virus but not show any symptoms. However, they can still pass it on to older, vulnerable people who can fall seriously ill.

“We are all striving to keep Suffolk out of lockdown measures, and the way we celebrate Hallowe’en – and how we mark forthcoming events like Bonfire Night and Remembrance Sunday – will have an impact on this.”

If you think trick-or-treating is not safe for your family this year, there are other ways you can still enjoy Hallowe’en, whilst keeping everyone safe:

  • Be creative: create a pumpkin trail where you live so everyone can join in without knocking on doors
  • Be active: get dressed up and take a walk around your neighbourhood to see homes decorated for Hallowe’en
  • Be virtual: consider an online party with decorations, fancy dress and themed food. Play Hallowe’en games, bake Hallowe’en treats or tell spooky stories
  • Be social: take pictures of your spooky costumes and activities to share on social media
  • Be colourful: dress up the outside of your house with Hallowe’en decorations for you and your neighbours to enjoy
  • Be treat-wise: buy your own sweets to give to your children so they don’t miss out
  • Be bright: if you carve a pumpkin, use a battery-powered light inside it to reduce the risk of fire

We must stop the increase in cases across all parts of Suffolk, and we must do this now.

The Suffolk Resilience Forum will be updating the Stick With It Suffolk campaign in the coming weeks – everyone needs to maintain the efforts shown over the summer, to slow the spread of the virus.

 

 

30th September 2020

Launch of new support line to help those with financial, job or housing worries

Published 30 Sep 2020

A phoneline will go live on 1 October 2020 to help people across Suffolk access information or support relating to debt, benefits, housing or employment.

This support service is in response to the financial impact that Covid-19 has had, and continues to have, on people across Suffolk. It is estimated that the number of people claiming Universal Credit in Suffolk has increased by 75% (approx. 24,000) since March and there has been a 238% increase in the amount of food handed out to single adults and families from Suffolk’s foodbanks. There are also 104,000 people still furloughed from their jobs.

Citizens Advice Suffolk Alliance, which includes the eight Citizens Advice Bureaus across Suffolk, and Anglia Care Trust and Ipswich Housing Action Group will deliver advice and support to people through a single phoneline. Call handlers will use resources and information from across many Suffolk organisations and specialist providers, which can be tailored to individual needs. The phoneline is funded by Suffolk Public Sector Leaders and has been developed by Suffolk-wide partners on the Collaborative Communities Covid-19 Board, which is part of the Suffolk Resilience Forum.

The phoneline, 0800 068 3131, is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Chrissie Geeson, chair of the Collaborative Communities Covid-19 Board and Head of Localities and Partnerships at Suffolk County Council, said:

“More than ever it is essential that people who find themselves in difficulties - many for the first time - know that there is somewhere to go for help.

“This service is non-judgemental, impartial and fully clued-up on what help is out there so that people find the right solution. I think it’s important to add that this service is for everyone – you do not need to be facing extreme hardship or severe financial challenges. No matter how small or trivial you may think your problem is, we can help. We recognise that a lot of callers might be reaching out for support for the first time because of the impact that Coronavirus has had.”

Nicky Willshere, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice Ipswich and Lead for the Suffolk Advice Alliance, said:

“Trained advisers from Citizens Advice and other advice agencies across Suffolk are waiting to hear from people hit by the side effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. We can help you and your households find a way through the hardships caused. Just call us on 0800 068 3131 to get impartial, confidential and free advice to find a way forward.”

Councillor Matthew Hicks, Leader at Suffolk County Council, said:

“This service has been devised and delivered in a matter of weeks. The Suffolk system recognised the changing nature of problems that people found themselves in because of Coronavirus and we responded to that need. This is true partnership work at it’s best. “I know it will be huge support to hundreds of people who may otherwise have struggled to know where next to turn.”

The phoneline is one element of the Suffolk Advice and Support Service which pulls together work of the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme, which can assist with food vouchers and furniture donations, the Warm Handover, which enables fast referrals between support organisations, Suffolk foodbanks and Infolink.

 

 

7th August 2020

Suffolk’s resilience partners urge people to queue responsibly outside bars and pubs

Published 7 Aug 2020

Press release issued on behalf of Suffolk Resilience Forum.

suffolkresilienceforum

Although the restrictions on lockdown have been relaxed over the past two months, Covid-19 still represents a serious risk to the public, no matter what their age.

The Suffolk Resilience Forum was very concerned to see reports of people queuing up outside at least one popular nightspot in Suffolk last weekend with no social distancing or apparent concern for the welfare of themselves or their friends.

Now, more than ever, there is no room for complacency through thinking the virus is beaten or individuals are not at risk of contracting it.

Overall Suffolk has been a shining example in complying with the instructions issued since March in an effort to keep everyone in our communities safe and protect the NHS.

Young people looking to enjoy themselves on the hot summer evenings are being asked to continue that approach this weekend.

Stuart Keeble, Director of Public Health for Suffolk, said:

“Coronavirus is still a real and deadly threat.

“The last four-and-a-half months have been tough for everyone and I can well understand people wanting to go out and enjoy themselves after making sacrifices since March.

“Suffolk has been extremely good in doing what it has been asked to do during that time. However, we must not be complacent. Covid-19 has not gone away.

“We have seen other areas go into local lockdown, and If we are to stay on top of this virus in Suffolk we must all stick with it and keep on doing what is being asked of us.

“It is vital we maintain social distancing when visiting pubs or queueing outside of them. Social distancing is also very important in public spaces and inside premises.

“Also please remember you need to leave your details at a pub or restaurant, if requested. It is important, as if you have been in contact with someone who contracts Covid-19 we need to trace you to ensure you can take actions to protect your family and friends.

“Please keep looking after each other as you have done. We will only beat Covid-19 if everyone continues to play their part.”

If you are on an night out this weekend:

  • Keep 2 metres apart from others wherever possible
  • Leave your details with the pub or bar
  • Keep washing your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Keep using hand sanitiser gel, if soap and water are not available
  • #StickWithItSuffolk 

 

23rd July 2020

Stick with it Suffolk – wear a face covering

Suffolk residents are being asked to keep looking out for each other and combat Covid-19 by wearing a face covering in shops from tomorrow (Friday 24 July).

KEEP YOUR FACE COVERED

From Friday 24 July the law will change to make it mandatory, in the majority of cases, to wear a face covering in shops – as it is currently when using public transport.

Businesses, towns and spaces in Suffolk have been getting extra help to make them safer and reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading as lockdown measures are eased. Support to make this happen comes from the ‘Safer Places’ group, part of the Suffolk Resilience Forum, which is made up of Suffolk’s NHS, Emergency and Public Services.

This has included supporting businesses to meet this national guidance, allowing them to trade safely and keep their customers safe. Councils and public services have been engaging with local organisations, communities and councillors and organisations to look at tailored solutions for their particular areas to help with issues such as social distancing.

Under the new national changes, measures can be taken if people do not comply with this law on face coverings:

  • Shops and supermarkets will be expected to encourage compliance with the law and can refuse entry
  • Transport operators can deny service or direct someone to wear a face covering

In both cases, if necessary, the police have the powers to enforce these measures, including through issuing a fine of £100 (halving to £50 if paid within 14 days).

People are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Businesses should be aware that there will be some people who will be exempt from wearing face coverings, including children under the age of 11. People with exemptions may have a hidden disability making it difficult for them to wear one and have general difficulties with daily life which others may not readily recognise or identify as a disability.

The advice to businesses, if you are unsure, is to be friendly and affable when asking the person and check:

Businesses are also asked to not make assumptions if someone is not wearing a face covering, as that person may feel quite vulnerable and uncomfortable - their hidden disability may include issues with communication.

David Collinson, the lead for the Safer Places group, said:

“The safety of our communities is the most important thing as our high streets and businesses recover.

“Ultimately, businesses are responsible to ensure the safety of their staff and customers, but through the Safer Places group, we’re doing everything we can to support them and help reduce the risk of infection.

“But people have a role too and it is vital they follow the face covering guidance that comes into force on Friday. By sticking with the guidance and helping each other to keep safe you will stop the spread of Covid-19 and help local businesses stay open, serving their communities.”

Businesses and residents can find out more from their local councils or the latest guidance and updates on the government’s website.

For up-to-date guidance on exemptions to wearing a face covering where they are mandated, see the government’s website.

 

 

1st July 2020

Play your part to keep businesses open and stop the spread of COVID-19

 

Press release issued on behalf of Suffolk Resilience Forum published on 1 July 2020.

suffolkresilienceforum

As more businesses are allowed to open this weekend, residents are being urged to #StickWithItSuffolk by keeping it local and sticking to the guidance, such as social distancing.

Businesses have been working hard to bring in new measures to enable them to trade, keep their customers safe and help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

But they need the public to help, by sticking to these measures and acting sensibly. This will help to prevent the virus from spreading again. Otherwise, businesses could once again be threatened with closure.

People are still required to social distance and to stay two metres apart. In some circumstances, with extra precautions, people can follow the ‘1 metre plus’ rule. This could include wearing masks or only sitting with particular groups in a restaurant. The ‘Safer Places’ group, part of the Suffolk Resilience Forum, which is made up of Suffolk’s NHS, Emergency and Public Services has been helping businesses re-open.

David Collinson, who leads the ‘Safer Places’ group, said:

“It is good news that the government is allowing more businesses to open. We have been working hard to help more and more people trade safely and keep their customers safe. But it is now also crucial for people to keep playing their part if businesses are to continue trading and if we are to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We urge everyone to keep local and support businesses in your area as well as sticking to the new measures and think about the consequences of their actions, especially when it comes to drinking. The government advice continues to be that people should still remain 2 metres apart unless there are alternative, Covid-secure measures in place.

“If businesses need help, the government has the latest advice online or their local council should be able to help. Stick with it Suffolk and help local businesses continue to trade and stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Even before COVID-19 the Police and NHS had to deal with the consequences of people drinking too much. This was dangerous behaviour before the pandemic, but now will put unnecessary, extra pressure on emergency services and means businesses may not be able to operate in a safe way.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Jones said:

“Whilst we of course want people to have a good time and enjoy themselves in pubs and bars, we must remember that coronavirus is still a serious risk to health. As such, people need to continue to follow the government’s guidance to reduce the transmission of the virus, including social distancing, increased hygiene measures and following the instructions of pub and bar staff.

“We urge people to drink responsibly, follow the guidance set out and maintain a safe environment for everyone. The vast majority of drinkers are responsible but we know some people will drink to excess and become vulnerable to harm or indeed cause harm to others. The key advice is to know your limits, drink sensibly and consider how you will get home safely.

“As a county so far you have done a brilliant job in acting responsibly, so the message remains to Stick with it Suffolk.”

 

 

 

26th June 2020

Suffolk’s resilience partners continue to provide PPE equipment where most needed

 

As Suffolk’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic enters its fourth month, the team set up in March to source and distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to support service providers across the county continues to operate from Suffolk County Council’s offices in Ipswich. To date, this PPE ‘cell’ of the Suffolk Resilience Forum (SRF) has distributed over 2.3 million items of PPE across Suffolk. Over 1.9 million of these items have been distributed for use in the care sector to support some of Suffolk’s most vulnerable residents.

This equipment is directly supporting a range of staff every day, providing them with the masks, gloves and other disposable protective items needed to ensure safe working and effective infection control, working in care settings, social care, special schools, emergency services and health organisations.   

As service providers increase contact with residents and reopen or plan for buildings to open in weeks to come, Suffolk’s PPE team will continue to purchase and distribute equipment where there is a shortfall in supply or where organisations identify an urgent need.   

Speaking on behalf of the SRF, Suffolk’s Director for Public Health, Stuart Keeble said:

“As the pandemic really took hold in late March, it was vitally important that we quickly established a team to source and distribute PPE where it was needed most. This was especially important given the increased demand for personal protective equipment across the UK, and the world at that point.

Suffolk’s team continues to operate and the SRF is keeping a close eye on levels of demand to understand if and when we need to scale back operations.  

“With recent national announcements that look to relax some of the social distancing guidelines, locally we are beginning to see fewer cases of Covid-19. Whilst things appear to be heading in the right direction, we all need to remain vigilant and stick with the simple measures we can all take to reduce the spread of the virus; washing our hands and maintaining safe social distancing.  

“We have worked hard to source and supply PPE equipment where it is needed across Suffolk and have been able to provide PPE to all those who have requested it, to continue to protect residents and staff and reduce the risk of infection. Let’s stick with it Suffolk.”

 

15 June 2020

Play your part in creating a safer Suffolk

Suffolk residents are being asked to play their part in reducing infection and shopping local as businesses re-open across the county this week.

Councils, partners and businesses have been introducing temporary or trial measures to help people shop and stay safe while keeping to national guidelines. Support to make this happen comes from the ‘Safer Places’ group, part of the Suffolk Resilience Forum, which is made up of Suffolk’s NHS, Emergency and Public Services.

The government has announced a phased easing of rules around businesses and other properties opening, starting in June. The Safer Places group is supporting businesses to meet this national guidance, allowing them to trade safely and keep their customers safe.

This has meant shops and businesses introducing new social distancing measures as well as some streets being used in different ways to reduce people getting too close.

Residents are being asked to follow the new measures on streets and businesses to keep the risk of spreading COVID-19 and help Suffolk businesses continue trading.

Through the Safer Places work, Suffolk councils and organisations are working hard to support high streets, by devising new ways to help people pass with the little space there is in existing paths and highways.

To help with this parking enforcement will play a role in making sure people keep streets free so traffic can flow or stop people parking on pavements or areas being used by pedestrians. It is expected that more people will be using car parks and motorists are asked to also play their part and acting responsibly and following measures in place.

David Collinson, the lead for the Safer Places group, said:

“The safety of our communities is the most important thing as our high streets and businesses recover. Ultimately, businesses are responsible to ensure the safety of their staff and customers, but through the Safer Places group, we’re doing everything we can to support them and help reduce the risk of infection.

“Everyone has a roll to play in making sure that we all can keep safe and support our local Suffolk businesses. These measures will be constantly reviewed and are completely new for everyone taking part so are likely to change and evolve. Please help by following the measures or having a polite word with a business if you think they can improve.

“Suffolk has successfully slowed the spread of the virus, but we must all stick with it and keep following the guidance.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

04 June 2020

Improving Suffolk’s wellbeing and mental health with a simple ‘thank you’

A new, colourful way for people across Suffolk to show their appreciation for others, is underway in Suffolk.

Suffolk Says Thanks recognises the small acts of kindness taking place across the county in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is being launched by the Suffolk Resilience Forum, which contains a specific group tasked with looking at emotional wellbeing in the community as a result of the pandemic.

As a direct result of the current situation, people may be experiencing mental health issues or their emotional wellbeing may be affected. To help with this, the simple act of saying ‘thank you’ is known to have a positive effect on both the person giving thanks, as well as the person receiving it.

Stuart Keeble, Director of Public Health Suffolk, said:

“Coronavirus has changed our way of life in so many ways and, as a consequence, more people’s mental health is likely to be affected.

“Suffolk residents have a huge range of mental health support available to them, and there is always someone available to talk to, 24/7. But sometimes, a simple ‘thank you’ is enough to make someone’s day and can be a small boost that they need.

Suffolk Says Thanks builds on the appreciation that we as a nation have been showing to key workers and NHS staff – not least by clapping to show our appreciation every Thursday evening.

“So as clap for carers draws to a close, let’s say ‘thank you’ across Suffolk: the neighbour or volunteer who has put out your bins, the friend who collects your shopping or the person on your street that waves every morning as they pass by your house.”

Posters, cards and other colourful materials can be downloaded from www.suffolksaysthanks.com to provide inspiration for saying thank you in different ways. People are then invited to share their messages with others through the website and on social media using the hashtag #suffolksaysthanks.

Suffolk Says Thanks will also recognise those with the willpower to stick with it and do the right thing for themselves, their family and friends. Even as lockdown measures are gradually eased, the spread of coronavirus will only continue to slow if we keep on staying at home, washing hands and social distancing.

Gemma Levi, chair of Suffolk Resilience Forum’s Emotional Wellbeing in the Community group, said:

“As a nation we’ve been great at thanking others and seen the positive impact it’s had on our key workers and in the streets. We now want to acknowledge the small acts of kindness and Suffolk Says Thanks gives people the materials and inspiration to thank those in their local community.

“We would like people to post their ‘thank yous’ as photos and videos on social media, to download materials to colour in and display in windows, or even print out one of the template letters to pop through someone’s door.

“Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that demonstrating an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.

“The act of giving is one of the ‘five ways to wellbeing’, which is an established framework setting out simple steps for improving day to day mental health.”

If you are experiencing something that makes you feel unsafe, distressed or worried about your mental health you can now call the FirstResponse service on 0808 196 3494. This phoneline is provided by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provides immediate advice, support and signposting.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

28 May 2020

Suffolk works on creating safer places as lockdown measures ease

Businesses, towns and spaces in Suffolk are getting extra help to make them safer and reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading as lockdown measures are eased.

Support to make this happen comes from the ‘Safer Places’ group, part of the Suffolk Resilience Forum, which is made up of Suffolk’s NHS, Emergency and Public Services.

The Government has announced a phased easing of rules around businesses and other properties opening, starting in June. The group is supporting businesses to meet this national guidance, allowing them to trade safely and keep their customers safe.

As well as the retail sector, councils and public services are looking at their own areas and facilities in readiness for changes in national guidelines, such as car parks. The Safer Places group will also be engaging with local organisations, communities and councillors and organisations to look at tailored solutions for their particular areas. Measures are likely to evolve as guidance changes or improvements are made.

David Collinson, the lead for the Safer Places group, said:

“The safety of our communities is the most important thing as our high streets and businesses recover.

“Ultimately, businesses are responsible to ensure the safety of their staff and customers, but through the Safer Places group, we’re doing everything we can to support them and help reduce the risk of infection.

“While, the most effective way to slow the spread of the virus, is to stay at home, we understand that people will want to visit the high street and parks, so we are supporting businesses and authorities to make these places as safe as possible.

“Everyone has a role to play in keeping each other safe. We can do this by continuing to follow the government’s instructions, such as keeping 2 metres apart from others, regularly washing our hands and limiting our use of public transport - think ahead about your hygiene.

“Suffolk has successfully slowed the spread of the virus, but we must all stick with it and keep following the guidance.”

An example of safer spaces being created, are those planned for our highways. To ensure appropriate safety measures can be put in place for communities across Suffolk, the county council, with partners has developed guidance and advice on how safe, social distancing measures can be maintained on the highway.

This includes empowering local councils and the business community to make small-scale temporary changes to enable safe, social distancing, without the need to seek consent from Suffolk County Council.

Where there is a requirement or desire for larger, more detailed changes to be made in the community, these will need to be discussed with county council.

Any of the temporary changes made during this time will be kept under review and the county council will continue to work with its partners to adapt to government guidance and review what support is needed to help the local economy.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

21 May 2020

Be responsible, save lives and stick with it this bank holiday weekend

Suffolk Resilience Forum is urging people to keep doing the right thing this bank holiday weekend, as the county’s #StickWithItSuffolk campaign continues.

Despite the relaxation of some of the Government restrictions, there is still a risk that the spread of coronavirus is likely to increase. This will happen if we are not responsible and fail to stay alert, especially with the temptation to take advantage of the predicted good weather.

Suffolk has been very successful in slowing the infection rate by the public staying at home, keeping two metres apart when out, not gathering in groups and washing hands regularly.

However the NHS, emergency services and public sector organisations which make up the Suffolk Resilience Forum are stressing people must stick with it and keep following these instructions if we are to continue slowing the spread of the virus and saving lives.

Dr Mark Shenton, a GP at StowHealth in Stowmarket, said:

“Put simply, if more of us go outside, the greater the risk of the virus spreading. That means if people don’t follow the instructions, my colleagues and our hospitals will undoubtedly get busier, and sadly more people may die.

“But like most of us, I’m looking forward to getting some fresh air this weekend and appreciate that we don’t all want to be indoors the whole time. Being outside is good for our mental health and wellbeing.

“If you do go out, keep two metres apart and keep washing your hands. If you arrive somewhere and it looks busy, think about heading somewhere different where fewer people are.”

Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Suffolk, although more slowly, which is why it is crucial that people keep following the instructions. These are:

  • Keep staying at home 
  • Keep working from home where you can
  • Keep 2 metres apart if you go out
  • Keep exercising safely
  • Keep washing your hands with soap and water
  • Keep self-isolating if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
  • Keep travelling by car, bike or walking
  • Keep staying safe at work
  • Keep shielding yourself if you’re vulnerable
  • Keep supporting local businesses
  • Keep looking out for each other

For the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) information from the government, including frequently asked questions about what we can and can’t do, go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

19 May 2020

Mobile testing units continue regular visits around Suffolk

The Suffolk Resilience Forum is reminding Suffolk residents that ‘pop-up’ style mobile testing units are regularly in operation around the county.

Visits to the units are for those currently showing symptoms of coronavirus and must be booked in advance.

The government announced yesterday (18 May 2020) that people can request a test for anyone over 5 years of age, who is showing coronavirus symptoms. This includes requesting a test for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms.

Coronavirus symptoms are:

  • a high temperature, or
  • a new, continuous cough, or
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You can be tested in one of the following ways, if you are showing coronavirus symptoms:

  • Book online, or call 119, and visit a regional test centre (in Suffolk this is located at the London Road Park and Ride site at Copdock, Ipswich)
  • Book online, or call 119, and visit a mobile testing unit (latest Suffolk locations can be found at www.suffolk.gov.uk/testing)
  • Book online, or call 119, and request a home testing kit

If you are an essential worker, you can apply for priority testing:

Mobile testing units have been operational in Suffolk since April and are mobilised by the Ministry of Defence. Units regularly move around the county at multiple sites and have so far been planned for Bury St Edmunds, Eye, Haverhill, Leiston, Lowestoft and Newmarket.

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18 May 2020

Stick With It Suffolk – continue slowing the spread of coronavirus

Suffolk residents are being asked to continue their great efforts, which are successfully reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Stick With It Suffolk is a campaign launching on Monday 18 May 2020, highlighting what we must all continue doing, to keep each other safe and to defeat the virus.

Recent data* shows that around 1 in 600 people in Suffolk have tested positive for COVID-19, which compares favourably to Norfolk, Essex and the national average.

However, we are not out of the woods yet. The number is continuing to rise, although more slowly, which is why it is crucial that people keep following the instructions. These are:

  • Keep staying at home 
  • Keep working from home where you can
  • Keep 2 metres apart if you go out
  • Keep exercising safely
  • Keep washing your hands with soap and water
  • Keep self-isolating if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
  • Keep travelling by car, bike or walking
  • Keep staying safe at work
  • Keep shielding yourself if you’re vulnerable
  • Keep supporting local businesses
  • Keep looking out for each other

Stick With It Suffolk is being rolled out across the county by the Suffolk Resilience Forum, which include Suffolk’s NHS, Emergency and Public Services. These local authorities and organisations are working together around the clock to keep Suffolk as safe as possible.

This is how Suffolk will successfully respond to the government’s Stay Alert, Control The Virus, Save Lives message.

People are asked to share their stories and how they are managing to stick with it, using the hashtag #StickWithItSuffolk on social media.

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk Director of Public Health, said:

“On behalf of all the members of the Suffolk Resilience Forum, I’d like to say thank you to the people of Suffolk for the sacrifices they are making by following these instructions.

“But now, more than ever, it is important that we stick with it - the number of cases can very easily increase if we take our eye off the ball. This would be a backward step, with strict lockdown measures coming back into force.

“With young children of my own, I understand how difficult it is when they can’t see their family and friends, they would love to see their grandparents but I know this increases the risk to my family and Suffolk residents. We are making progress, and we will continue to do so if we Stick With It Suffolk.”

Dr Mark Shenton, Chair of the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our communities for their continued support in helping our health and care system to manage this public health emergency.

“These are unprecedented times and the measures we have all taken so far are really making a difference. This is why it is so important to continue following government guidelines and keeping the two metre distance from each other.

“I am so proud of how our services are responding to this crisis and extremely heartened by the continued support that so many people are giving us by following these rules.

“Please continue to stay alert, continue to help control this virus and help us all save lives.”

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15 May 2020

Don’t suffer alone – help is available to support your mental health

 

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need support, help is available – that’s the message from the Suffolk Resilience Forum, ahead of Mental Health Awareness week (18 to 24 May).

Having a mental health crisis can include:

  • thinking about suicide or acting on suicidal thoughts
  • having an episode of psychosis (where you might experience or believe things that others do not)
  • doing something that could put yourself or others at risk

National and local evidence shows a drop in the number of people accessing mental health services during the coronavirus outbreak. It is important that Suffolk people know that help is available all day, every day.


The FirstResponse service, launched by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provides immediate advice, support and signposting for people with mental health difficulties. If you are experiencing something that makes you feel unsafe, distressed or worried about your mental health you can now call the helpline on 0808 196 3494.

Stuart Keeble, Director of Public Health in Suffolk, said:

“The main message is, don’t suffer alone – help is available. Looking after your emotional wellbeing, mental and physical health is incredibly important, and never more so than during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Access to mental health support is still available. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need to talk to someone, you can get immediate help from FirstResponse and a range of other services.”

More support is available at any time of day or night from Samaritans, who offer confidential and non-judgmental emotional support whenever you need someone to talk to. Call 116 123.

Kooth offers an online counselling and emotional wellbeing service for 11 to 18-year-olds (up to 19th birthday) in East and West Suffolk, and for 11 to 25-year-olds in Norfolk and Waveney. As well as online counselling, Kooth provides peer-to-peer support, moderated forums with other young members of the ‘Kooth community’ and a wide range of self-help materials.

Suffolk GPs and A&E services also remain open, and there are different options available for speaking to a GP including telephone, text, video call or email.

If you need urgent help, feel desperate or unsafe, you should talk to someone nearby immediately if at all possible, call 999 or visit your nearest A&E department.

The advice remains that you should not travel to A&E or your doctor’s surgery if you are experiencing any typical symptoms of coronavirus, such as a high temperature or a new continuous cough (coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours).

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7 May 2020

Partnership working across Suffolk continues to help those in need

Vulnerable people in Suffolk continue to get the vital help and support by partners across Suffolk as we reach the end of the 7th week in lockdown.

A communities board, made up of councils, health, police and the voluntary and community sector across Suffolk, was set up at the start of the pandemic to take care of those most in need. This work includes an emergency phoneline, food banks, emergency food parcels, housing and community and volunteering support in our towns and villages.

Since the Coronavirus pandemic, the work of the Collaborative Communities Covid-19 Board* has:

  • Helped nearly 6,000 people through the Home, But Not Alone emergency phoneline. The majority of these calls are for food support and collection of medication. Other enquiries involve isolation and loneliness, finance, social care and mental health. Phone calls are answered and cases managed by staff at each district, borough or county council depending on the type of enquiry. The call team also make proactive calls and checks on residents who are on the Government’s clinically shielded list.
  • Mapped, and continue to support, more than 1,500 community groups across Suffolk who help vulnerable people. Amongst other volunteering jobs, these groups support caller requests made through Home, But Not Alone phoneline. These groups deliver thousands of tasks each week across Suffolk.
  • Had more than 1,800 willing volunteers sign up to the Tribe Volunteer App. These volunteers also help with caller requests through Home, But Not Alone, either as an individual or linked to a community group.
  • Distributed £177,500 across Suffolk’s 42 foodbanks via the Suffolk Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Community Fund.
  • Delivered 4,100kgs of food to foodbanks across Suffolk through Fareshare. This equates to 1,230 individual food parcels.
  • Found temporary homes for more than 175 people who urgently needed help because of Covid-19.
  • Distributed nearly 500 emergency food parcels to those in urgent need of food supplies.
  • Handed-out £1,802,139 grants to voluntary and community sector organisations from members of the Collaborative Communities Covid-19 Board. This includes £636, 398 from the Suffolk Community Foundation’s Emergency Fund.
  • Sent a postcard to every household in Suffolk with details of the Home, But Not Alone emergency phoneline to ensure we reach anyone in need. 

This work of the board fits into a bigger jigsaw of help and support across Suffolk. As the next phase of lockdown measures are set to be announced on Sunday by Government, the board is also looking at longer-term support. There are a number of challenges within communities including domestic abuse, on-going financial difficulties for families and the impact on charities and the work they do within communities. The board also recognises that as time goes on the needs of individuals, and the demographics of those individuals, will evolve and change. It is important that help and support across Suffolk can evolve and adapt with changing demand.

Chrissie Geeson, chair of the Board and Head of Localities and Partnerships at Suffolk County Council, said: “The work of the Board is incredibly important in ensuring that the most vulnerable people in Suffolk are looked after.

“We know that a tremendous network of neighbourhood and community groups, including town and parish councils, are working in our towns and villages to carry out tasks and errands for those who need help. This help may include food or medicine deliveries. The volunteers signed up through Tribe play a part in this huge county response.

“The role of the Board is, amongst other things, to coordinate this effort and make sure no one falls through the gaps. It is by no means designed to replace or undermine this amazing response by all of Suffolk’s community heroes.

“Partnership working is not a new concept in Suffolk.  We already had very strong working partnerships between councils, health and voluntary, community and enterprise sectors. However, this pandemic – the greatest challenge we will face – demanded a united response. It cannot be tackled by a collection of individual bodies with individual aims and objectives. It demanded a joined-up, united and resilient response.”

The Board is made up of: Community Action Suffolk, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, Church of England in Suffolk, East Suffolk Council, Ipswich Borough Council, Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG, Ministry of Defence, National Probation Service – Norfolk & Suffolk, Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Suffolk Association of Local Councils, Suffolk Community Foundation, Suffolk Constabulary, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Voluntary Organisations Group, West Suffolk CCG, West Suffolk Council

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6 May 2020

Stay safe and commemorate VE Day responsibly in Suffolk

VE Day will be commemorated across Suffolk this Friday, just not as previously planned, with the government’s instructions requiring people to stay home and stay safe to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The Suffolk Resilience Forum, comprised of the county’s NHS, emergency services and public sector organisations, is stressing the need for the public to continue abiding by the current restrictions, which include social-distancing, throughout the bank holiday weekend.

While appreciating how difficult the last few weeks have been, compliance with the government’s instructions remains essential if we are to save lives by protecting our families, our communities and the NHS.

Friday marks 75 years since VE (Victory in Europe) Day when the Second World War came to an end in Europe. It was anticipated street parties would be held across the weekend, but this will not be possible due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

However, there are many other ways to mark the occasion, with a range of resources freely available on www.ve-vjday75.gov.uk. These include bunting and posters to decorate your house and place in your windows, and recipes to follow for an authentic experience.

On behalf of the Suffolk Resilience Forum, Chris Bally said: “This weekend was originally due to be one where communities came together to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE day. Sadly, we can no longer do this in the way we had envisaged before the Covid-19 emergency.

“In 1945 the country saw spontaneous celebrations and parties. In 2020 we will have to find other ways as we all have a responsibility to slow the spread of Covid-19 to help save lives and protect the NHS.

“However, we can still take time to reflect and honour the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to make VE Day possible.

“We can mark the day in many other safe ways. I’d encourage people to visit VE Day website for lots of ideas to involve the whole family.

“Whatever you do to commemorate VE Day, and to enjoy the weekend, please make sure you and your family stay safe.”

Government restrictions are still in place, meaning:

  • We must not meet in groups of more than two people
  • We must not leave our homes unless absolutely necessary
  • If we do leave home, we must maintain social distancing by keeping at least 2 metres from other people.

The Suffolk Resilience Forum is focussed on all agencies working together to keep the county safe.

For more information about the resilience forum visit www.suffolkresilience.com

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5 May 2020

Mobile testing units for Covid-19 confirmed across Suffolk

More and more locations across Suffolk are seeing visits from mobile testing units, to test eligible people for Covid-19.

Testing is a key part of the national response, with over 8,000 people already tested for Covid-19 in Suffolk, with the testing facility at Copdock being well-used.

The mobile testing units are being mobilised by the Ministry of Defence and are enabling more people to be tested across Suffolk. These are particularly useful for those who cannot easily access the testing facility at Copdock.

Confirmed locations for mobile testing units in Suffolk are:

  • Haverhill (from Monday 4 May – Wednesday 6 May, inclusive)
  • Lowestoft (from Wednesday 29 Apr onwards)
  • Newmarket (From Tuesday 5 May – Thursday 7 May, inclusive)

The Suffolk Resilience Forum, comprising of the Suffolk’s NHS, Emergency and Public Services, is currently finalising details for Eye and Leiston, with plans for further sites in the coming weeks.

People are advised to keep checking www.suffolk.gov.uk/testing for the latest locations to be announced.

Mobile testing units are also arriving in surrounding counties at locations such as Diss, Thetford and Clacton, Harwich.

To book a test at one of the centres, eligible people must submit their details, via either:

Those eligible for testing include:

  • all essential workers including NHS and social care workers with symptoms (see the full list of essential workers)
  • anyone over 65 with symptoms
  • anyone with symptoms whose work cannot be done from home (for example, construction workers, shop workers, emergency plumbers and delivery drivers)
  • anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with any of those identified above
  • NHS workers and patients without symptoms, in line with NHS England guidance


Full guidance on the government’s testing programme and eligibility can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested