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Local businesses join forces to support voluntary and community services

28 May Local businesses join forces to support voluntary and community services

Local businesses are showing their support to Community360 in a coordinated response to helping the most vulnerable during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Firstsite is working with Community360 to help get essential food and supplies to people who have been advised to shield.

The gallery – which is currently closed to the public as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus – has become the operations base for an initiative by the Colchester charity, which is collating items and packaging them, before sending them off for delivery to those in need around the local area.

Sally Shaw, Firstsite Director says ““We are proud to work with a wide range of community partners to help shape all we do at Firstsite, from our artistic programme to our ways of working – so as soon as Community360 asked us to get involved in this project we were more than happy to do all we could to support them. Thanks to funding received from the Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme we have been able to sustain this support and continue to provide our facilities throughout the lockdown.”

Copies of Firstsite’s Art is where the home is activity packs, which feature creative ideas from artists including Antony Gormley, Gillian Wearing and Vanley Burke have also been distributed as part of these welfare packs, helping people who are confined to their homes feel connected and keep creative during the lockdown.

Other organisations such as Kent Blaxhill have donated face masks, Metro Bank have kindly donated bags and Waitrose have been donating food and household essentials. These items are being packaged up to help the vulnerable who are self-isolating by a band of volunteers recruited by Community360 as part of The One Colchester ‘Operation Shield’ initiative.

The council, voluntary sector, police, health, education and the business community along with many others make up the One Colchester partnership and are committed to close collaboration in support of their communities.

Mark Partridge Branch Manager at Colchester Waitrose said: “It’s great to be supporting Community360, a charity we have worked with previously. Working together gives us the opportunity to reach more of those most affected in our community at this difficult time.”

Volunteers from Community360 are offering to do essential tasks for the most vulnerable people in Colchester’s community. They are supporting with a wide range of tasks – from transporting patients’ home from hospital, phoning people who are on their own for a chat to collecting and delivering essential medicines, food and delivering Welfare Packs. To date C360 have delivered 250 welfare packs, collected/delivered over 800 prescriptions; made over 2100 welfare calls and nearly 600 befriending calls. They have also received and dealt with over 1200 social prescribing referrals. All this from people’s acts of kindness.

Tracy Rudling, CEO at Community360 said: “The coronavirus crisis, and its’ devastating consequences, has touched and affected every one of us. The pandemic has already changed millions of lives, and its impacts are placing increased pressure on some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

The strength of our communities is incredible, and I would like to thank businesses and our residents for their response to this crisis. If we continue to show this community spirit, work together, support each other and find new ways to stay connected, we will get through this.”

She added: “As the coronavirus outbreak continues, more people are likely to need emergency food and help, so the continued support of local businesses, whether it is by donating food, equipment, their time by volunteering or donating premises space like Firstsite, will continue to be of such importance.”

For further information on ways you can help log onto: