Saluting our unsung heroes

Whether personal or professional, families or business, the coronavirus is having a truly profound effect on us all.

Amid the fear and anxiety, this pandemic has also reinforced the incredible sense of community spirit and volunteer support that lives and breathes throughout Haverhill.

It is something of which ONE Haverhill Partnership has always been acutely aware of. A volunteer garden party hosted in the grounds of the home of the then-High Sheriff of Suffolk, George Vestey, proved what incredible work was going on, often unsung.

This has just been further outlined as every week passes of this unprecedented crisis.

I would like to use this column to salute and support all our incredible key workers who are helping to keep the country moving at this time.

I am sure we are taking part in the public applause of our incredible carers and NHS teams every Thursday night.

Our local education leaders and staff deserve saluting for the way they have transformed online learning and also kept school buildings open to support the families of key workers, including on Good Friday and Easter Monday, in some cases.

What about our other unsung heroes? The supermarket and smaller shop workers, the crews collecting our bins every week, those working in the logistics sector and so many more.
We salute you all.

Then there is those organisations and individuals who are working tirelessly, and often remotely, to provide invaluable support to businesses and individuals alike.

The ‘Home, But Not Alone’ service has been promoted by Suffolk County Council to help connect people who want to volunteer in their communities with neighbours who are most in need.

The service will bring more structure around all the kind-hearted offers of support that we have seen in the last few weeks.

Alongside this, our economy needs our help more than ever and ONE Haverhill Partnership, and our task group the Heart of Haverhill, is here to help all businesses in our town during these uncertain time by promoting those that have skilfully changed how they are operating to ensure they remain in business and support their local communities.

Once bustling eateries have deftly become popular takeaways while each and every business, and market stall, that remains open does so while adhering to the Government guidelines around social distancing.

Heart of Haverhill has also helped by highlighting and signposting the national and regional support that has been offered to businesses in the last few weeks.

One such example is the impressive speed in which West Suffolk Council has adapted to this new way of working and processed payments of over £22 million, so far, to almost 2,000 small businesses and those in the retail, leisure and hospitality industries. These are very uncertain times, but support is available.

If you would like more information about the help available, for both individuals and businesses, please visit www.onehaverhill.co.uk.

Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.