Jason Benham is a Kier Business Connector for Business in the Community (BiTC), here he reveals how the Lowestoft community is coming together to help residents during these challenging times.
“Lowestoft is the most Easterly town in England, with a population of c.70,000, of which approximately 25% of its residents are aged 65 or over. It has beautiful beaches, but it can feel remote and cut off from other parts of the country.
When the Government announced the country needed to enter a period of lockdown in response to COVID-19, it was clear this would present a number of challenges for Lowestoft’s elderly residents.
Through the BiTC network, we have been able to bring together businesses, including the likes of Kier and Anglian Water with organisations, charities and residents, and we have been able to provide support and help.
Our goal has been clear from the start – to get food in to the homes of those who need it.
This has seen us working with local supermarkets who are helping to support food banks and ensuring they have supplies at this critical time.
We have also secured a grant from BiTC for food banks, who needed vital equipment, including food insulation containers and freezers, to prep, create and store food supplies.
The aim is for elderly and most vulnerable residents across the town to be able to receive a hot meal each day, which is being made possible thanks to the Salvation Army , Sam’s Café and many other local Pubs and Cafes and a local bus company, who have put forward drivers to deliver nutritious and hot meals.
Local pubs have also become a focal point once more, offering home delivery for some residents.
It has not just been about businesses uniting, it has been organisations across the town working with us, including East Coast College who’s catering staff have given their time and skill to help and the East Suffolk Council have been pivotal.
It is hugely rewarding when we know we are making a difference.
Last week, Phil Alves, change manager for Lowestoft Rising, a public sector partnership committed to improving the town, recounted how an elderly resident said ‘you saved my life and the contents of my freezer’ after we found her a new freezer when hers abruptly stopped working.
Right now, is a time for unity and action and working with local businesses, organisations and charities, I feel proud to be helping in some small way and serve the people of Lowestoft at this challenging time.
Over the last six weeks it shows what can be achieved through collective effort, how we can all play a part in helping to connect and support others - at a time when it is needed most.”
For more information on BiTC, click here.