A Word From Your Mayor

Although cases of coronavirus here in Felixstowe are significantly lower than the UK average, it was perhaps inevitable that we find ourselves back in a national lockdown given the increase in cases across the country. As well-prepared as we are this time, it is still a real blow to our high street shops, our cafes, restaurants and pubs as they all face another period of uncertainty, with mixed messages about how long the lockdown will last.

The Christmas season is traditionally a good time for businesses and helps them get through the first few months of the following year. So wherever possible please continue to try and support them by shopping local during this difficult time. From conversations with our independent shops and cafes, I know that many will try to remain open as they did during the first lockdown. They provide a fantastic service to this community and they deserve our support.

In a previous article, I alluded to the challenges faced by people living alone at this time. People who may be isolated or struggling with mental health are often unseen so please look out for your friends, family and neighbours. Though we cannot visit people in the usual way, you may be able to offer practical support. Often something simple like a quick chat in the street, or phone call, can make such a difference.

The Felixstowe Peninsular Community Partnership, which covers Felixstowe and the surrounding villages, is focused on supporting community health and wellbeing. At a recent meeting, we agreed to establish a new grant fund to support families and communities directly impacted from the virus. Grants up to £2,000 are now available so if you want more information please contact myself or Chloe Lee, our Communities Officer: 01394 444656 / [email protected]

The town council also established a coronavirus grant fund for local groups that have been impacted by the pandemic. For more details please visit: www.felixstowe.gov.uk/grants

During the previous lockdown we saw many established community organisations such as the BASIC Life Charity, FACTS and the Salvation Army working hard to reach out to those in need, supported by new groups such as Felixstowe Helping Hands. They all offer a valuable service for those who could not leave their homes. We have all recently met to review the situation and I am confident the support offered last time is in place to help again.

Undoubtedly this Christmas will be vastly different to any other. Shopping for our families and friends will be limited, events and functions are almost certain to be cancelled, businesses may struggle, and people’s work and income may be affected. But there is help on hand for those that need it. The freephone 0800 876 6926 Home, But Not Alone service is available to anyone in Suffolk who needs urgent help. This is complemented by the Suffolk Advice and Support Service phoneline (0800 068 3131) which helps those with debt, benefits, employment or housing worries.

We wish you a healthy and Happy Christmas,

Felixstowe Mayor Mark Jepson

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