Help is at hand this Christmas

Published 23 Dec 2021

Suffolk residents can still seek support over the festive period.

Help is available for anyone who is self-isolating, facing financial difficulties or struggling with their health and wellbeing.

Many people may not be having the Christmas they had hoped for, as Covid infection rates continue to rise locally and nationally.

In recognition of this, the Collaborative Communities Board – consisting of partners from Suffolk’s councils, police, health bodies and charitable organisations – want to remind people of the support systems in place to help with a range of issues.

This includes Home, But Not Alone, which provides assistance with obtaining groceries and medication to those unwell with Covid, or self-isolating, who cannot arrange delivery of these items themselves or don’t have friends or family to help out.

Anyone in genuine need of help can call the service – staffed on weekdays between 9am and 5pm – on freephone 0800 876 6926. It will remain open on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and over the festive bank holidays for emergency calls only.

Those requiring support with financial difficulties resulting from Covid should contact the Suffolk Advice and Support Service on 0800 068 3131, between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

The one-stop service offers advice from partners, including the Citizens Advice Suffolk Alliance, on a range of money worries such as debt, rent or mortgage arrears and credit cards.

Chrissie Geeson, chair of the Collaborative Communities Board, commented:

“Councils, organisations and volunteers across Suffolk have been at the forefront of supporting our communities since the pandemic began, and will continue to provide this vital assistance as we face the challenges posed by Omicron and an increase in Covid cases experienced nationally.

“Although this is a time of uncertainty for many, please know that you are not alone and can rely on support over the Christmas period, and beyond, if in genuine need.

“I’d also urge people to consider how they might be able to assist their family, friends or local communities without putting themselves at risk. A small act, like dropping off shopping to a neighbour who is self-isolating, can make a real difference and ensures that our services are able to help people who perhaps don’t have support networks in place or anyone to turn to.”

Suffolk residents facing financial hardship and in desperate need of food can find information on Food Banks currently accepting self-referrals.

A one off £500 support payment may also be claimed by those self-isolating due to Covid who meet the Government’s eligibility criteria.

District and borough councils are administering the Government funded scheme and further details can be found by visiting:

Support is also at hand to help with health and wellbeing, with providing the latest information on Covid vaccinations – including locations of walk-in clinics, details on free transport to help with attending vaccination appointments and answers to frequently asked questions about the vaccines.

Help with staying mentally well is available on Wellbeing Suffolk’s website, which offers free online advice to help with feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, as well as self-referral forms for anyone aged 16 and over in need of mental health services.

People experiencing loneliness can use the Suffolk County Council funded Buddy Up initiative, provided by Community Action Suffolk. The service matches those facing isolation with a trained volunteer from their local community, who can help them with getting a new hobby, attending social activities or joining local groups. Further information on using the scheme, or applying to be a volunteer, can be found at: or by calling 01473 345400.


Community Support Contact List – A selection of services and contact details that may be of use to you during this time


Suffolk Cruse Bereavement Care are operational, supporting clients by telephone.

Contact Line number is 01473 230888.

E-mail for support is

Website …

Cruse National Helpline 0808 808 1677



Disability Advice North East Suffolk are continuing to offer advice and support to anyone with a disability and/or long-term health condition and their carers. Amongst other things they are still able to provide phone appointments to assist with welfare benefits claims and issues.

If you, or someone you know, needs us please phone on 01502 511333 and leave a clear message including a contact phone number. Alternatively you can contact us by email at The answerphone and inbox will be monitored daily and someone will respond to your message.



The Alzheimer’s Society can answer questions about dementia and help people who might find it difficult to follow the NHS advice about coronavirus.

•          Call the Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456.

•          Visit the website for the most up to date information and advice.

•          Join the online community Talking Point to connect with others affected by dementia in a similar situation.

•          Use the Dementia Connect online support tool to find dementia information and support that is right for you.


Hearing or Sight Loss

If you are contacted by anyone with a sight or hearing loss who are finding it very difficult to deal with the Covid regulations and the effect on their daily life Sensing change is a good organisation to put them in contact with.

Sensing Change provides a range of services to adults with sight or hearing loss.

Sensing Change, Stone Lodge Community Centre, Hawthorn Drive, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 0QY Email:

Text: 07739 249056

Fax: 01473 263029

Minicom: 01473 604345

Phone: 01473 260030


Drug or Alcohol Users

Turning Point - support for anyone with drug and/or alcohol problems

Telephone: 0300 123 0872



Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) - AA meetings have moved online, and details can be found on the website. The local and national helplines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide support to anyone struggling with their alcohol use.

National helpline: 0800 9177 650

Local helpline (Suffolk excluding Waveney): 01473 212224

Local helpline (Waveney and Norfolk): 01603 621128



Narcotics Anonymous (NA) - NA meetings have moved online, and details can be found on the website.

Helpline: 0300 999 1212 provided 10am-midnight, 7 days a week


Other Support Services 

Suffolk Family Carers - support for anyone caring for a loved one with drug and/or alcohol problems

Telephone: O1473 835477


We are a Social Prescribing + project which operates in most areas of  East Suffolk for the over 65s asking them the question “ what matters to them and not what’s the matter with them “ to help them start their Journey to wellbeing. We currently have the capacity to help those over 65s that you may have contact with so please refer them to the project if you think we can help them . I have included the areas we cover on the project to make the process of referring to us simple for you.  However if you are still not sure  about areas or who to contact just give me call as I am happy to help.

Below is a little paragraph from Katie to introduce herself and a little bit of information about the project and a leaflet attached for you to have a look at.  It’s a fab project and one which we can hopefully have huge impact for those that need this excellent service.

“My name is Katie Read and I am a Community Connector working in your area for the Connected Communities Project.  Connected Communities is a new social prescribing project available in various rural areas of East Suffolk. As Community Connectors we work with anyone over the age of 65 to support them with issues such as isolation, low mood, long term health conditions, life events such as separation or bereavement and array of other issues. We offer one to one meetings (currently over the phone) to discuss what matters to the individual and support then to come up with a plan to improve their situation. We link them to other services within their local community and support them to take the next step to improving their wellbeing. We also have our own mobile vehicle which allows us to travel to the most rural areas of Suffolk and provides a safe meeting place for discussion”

You can contact Katie directly at