MPs, councils, police and community leaders back Here to Help campaign
PUBLISHED: 06:30 19 March 2020
More than a dozen high-profile figures and organisations in Norfolk have come out in support of the Eastern Daily Press’ Here to Help campaign, aiming to highlight the amazing things that people are doing to help others in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
All across the county, people, businesses and communities have come up with effective ways to help people whose lives are going to be most affected by the virus and measures put in place by the government in response to it.
Our Here to Help campaign, organised in partnership with Norfolk County Council, will aim to promote these good deeds and inspire more to get involved, in order to create an army of helpers to step in to offer the extra support that many desperately need.
Council leader Andrew Proctor, speaking on behalf of all Norfolk councils as chairman of the leaders’ group, said: “Norfolk has great community spirit and I’m encouraging everyone to back this campaign.”
The leader of Suffolk County Council, Matthew Hicks, also voiced his support for the initiative. He said: “Community spirit, being neighbourly and looking out for each other is something that Suffolk does incredibly well.
“The prospect of isolation or staying at home, doesn’t mean we need to feel alone or cut off. Whilst social media or a phone call or text can’t replace that face to face human interaction, it can help bridge that gap and offer a feeling of community at a time when we need to be mindful of the spread of the virus.”
The Here to Help campaign was only launched on Monday, but already we have heard dozens of heartwarming stories from communities across Norfolk.
In Burston, near Diss, The Burston Crown pub has launched a meals on wheels-type service, where those who are self-isolating or otherwise unable to go out due to government guidelines can order food from their menu and other supplies such as toilet roll to have delivered to their homes.
Meanwhile, further north in Hingham, strangers Jo Howard and Victoria Pamment have joined forces to form Hingham Helpers, an initiative aiming to ease coronavirus fear and make sure that isolated and vulnerable people have everything they need at such a difficult time.
These are just two of dozens of examples of fantastic ideas that Here to Help aims to promote, something which has been praised and backed by several high-profile figures.
Norfolk Police’s chief constable Simon Bailey threw his support behind the campaign. He said: “We are experiencing unprecedented times and it’s essential that we maintain services to our communities and look after one another.
“The Here to Help campaign is a great idea to support those who are vulnerable or may be self-isolating and need a little help.”
READ MORE: The people, groups and communities in Norfolk helping others in their hour of need
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher, said: “We remember the example of the Good Samaritan, a story that Jesus told, which speaks about the need to care for other people and ensure we notice those who are in distress even if they are those who are often invisible to us.
“Our churches are working with many others in their local communities to be a living expression of God’s continuing love and care in the midst of these anxious times. I whole-heartedly commend the EDP’s Here to Help campaign to highlight and connect these examples of hope as we move forward together.”
Alongside Mr Bailey and Mr Usher, seven Norfolk MPs have also voiced their backing for the campaign.
• Norwich South MP Clive Lewis: “The launch of the Here to Help initiative by this paper in conjunction with Norfolk County Council’s chief of public health earlier this week puts understandable concerns about safeguarding and wellbeing concerns front and centre.
“I am delighted to be able to signpost people to the scheme and encourage anyone who can to pitch in to make sure that no-one in their local community is left behind during this coronavirus episode.”
• Norwich North MP Chloe Smith: “As always, community comes first in Norfolk and the Here to Help campaign shows how it can be done. I urge people to support it while following public health advice to stay healthy.
“I’m sure the EDP and Evening News will be an important source of news, comfort and refreshment to people in these strange times. I thank all the partners involved, and all other community groups doing similar, for their public spirit.”
• Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman: “Our country and our county is facing a public health crisis which will test all our systems and services to their limits.
“Let’s show the world – and ourselves – that we have not lost our sense of community. Let’s make this crisis a moment we spread the simple gift of neighbourliness. The EDP’s Here To Help campaign is a brilliant initiative. If we all do our bit we can make a big difference.”
• South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss: “The EDP has a strong history of mobilising for the good of Norfolk – in this unprecedented time, let’s support the EDP’s campaign and help each other and our amazing communities.”
• North West Norfolk MP James Wild: “Norfolk is rightly recognised for our strong communities who look out for each other. I welcome this campaign to channel the willingness in West Norfolk and across the county to pitch in and help those who need a hand whether with shopping, medicines, or to have a chat.”
• Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew: “I support the EDP’s campaign in conjunction with Norfolk County Council – who are doing a lot to help vulnerable people during this difficult time.”
• Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis: “We are facing a public health crisis of the historic proportions, that’s why it is so important we come to together as community and ensure that those who can help the more vulnerable do step up and help their neighbours, friends and family.”
For regular updates on the good deeds that people across Norfolk are doing for others, visit the Norfolk and Waveney Here to Help Facebook group.
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