Action squad set to continue beyond coronavirus pandemic

The founder of a community group to help the elderly and vulnerable during COVID19, wants it to continue beyond the current crisis.

Jamie Nunn, who runs the Matilda Rose nail and beauty salon in Withersfield Road, Haverhill, has been inundated with volunteers since he set up the Matilda Rose -Action Squad in March.

It is working with staff at West Suffolk Council Home But Not Alone helpline, to ensure anybody who is vulnerable, gets the support that they need.

“Haverhill is a great place with a great sense of community. We have lots of amazing people who are all happy to help people. This whole project wouldn’t be possible without them,” Jamie said.

As well as collecting people’s food and medicine, the group also phones 24 people a week who are lonely, offering a voice to speak to as well as checking if they need any other support.

“We set this up in response to coronavirus but we will most definitely be carrying it on once things go back to normal, whatever that may be,” said Jamie. “If one good thing comes from this, I think it will be that people will put down the computer and the mobile phone and actually start checking in on people. It’s hugely important to look at what’s going on around you and I think it’s something we are all guilty of at times.”

The Action Squad has its own Facebook group – search for Matilda Rose – Action Squad. The Action Squad is one of nearly 400 community groups and volunteers that is working with West Suffolk Council to support people who are vulnerable.

John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “I think it is great that this group is already looking at how it can continue to support the most vulnerable in the community beyond this current crisis. Even before this, West Suffolk had a strong track record of working with our communities to help people and this work will continue to be of crucial importance long after this crisis is over.

“Our role is about supporting groups in their work and to date West Suffolk councillors have given a little over £7,300 in locality budget funding to aid this community response to the coronavirus. Equally we are here to provide the safety net so that if someone vulnerable isn’t in touch with a group in their area and they don’t have friends or family nearby to help, they can call us on the Home But Not Alone helpline and we can get them the help that they need.”

The Matilda Rose Action Squad is to receive £150 in locality budget funding from West Suffolk councillor Aaron Luccarini who represents the Haverhill Central Ward.

“The work Matilda Rose is doing is fantastic. It’s a real credit to Haverhill,” he said.

John Mayhew, chair of ONE Haverhill Partnership and spokesman for Heart of Haverhill, said: “It’s wonderful to hear about the fantastic work of Jamie and his colleagues. It’s a massive credit to Haverhill that this business has stepped up to deliver such much-needed support – and even better that it links in with the West Suffolk Council Home But Not Alone helpline. We would like to thank Jamie and all the volunteers for supporting so many people at this time.”

The helpline is open from 9am to 5pm seven days a week on 0800 876 6926.

Pictured above is Jamie Nunn, who set up the Matilda Rose -Action Squad.

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