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New community drop-in has been launched in Wickham Market


A brand-new social prescribing support drop-in has been set up in Wickham Market, operating from the car park of the East of England Co-op store on the High Street.

The Connected Communities programme, which is run by Suffolk Family Carers, launched a monthly support drop-in in the town today, national Social Prescribing Day. The East of England Co-op is lending an area of its car park to the scheme, which offers free face-to-face support to local residents via a mobile advice centre – a campervan called Vincent Van Go – which will be parked outside the store.

The drop-ins are aimed at local residents aged 65 and over and offer tailored help and advice on the things that matter to them. This could include anything from housing to advice on fuel and energy usage or their own wellbeing, staying active and connecting to their local communities. As a community-based service, people will be supported by the project as individuals and also helped to access a range of local support initiatives to enhance their health and wellbeing.

Kat Reading, Community Development Manager at the East of England Co-op, said: “We know from our own community support work that the past couple of years have taken a toll on people’s health and wellbeing, particularly for those living in rural areas. People might be feeling isolated, they might be having financial struggles or they might just want to make a change in their life but aren’t sure where to start. The Connected Communities programme can help with all these things and more, and we’re pleased to be able to help them establish a regular drop-in from our Wickham Market store.”

Ian McKee, Senior Community Connector at Suffolk Family Carers, said: “We’re just starting to get back out on the road with Vincent Van Go after lockdown restrictions, and Wickham Market is an area where we’ve wanted to establish a regular support drop-in for some time.

“Rather than asking ‘What’s the matter?’ we ask ‘What matters to you?’ and have an open conversation with people about how they’re feeling and if there’s anything they’d like to change in their lives. The advice we give is entirely confidential and is personalised to each participant, empowering them to improve their health and wellbeing.”

The Connected Communities programme will be running from the East of England Co-op store in Wickham Market on the second Thursday of every month from 9.30am – 12.30pm. It will next be in the town on 7th April, 5th May and 2nd June.

For more information, visit www.suffolkfamilycarers.org/connected-communities.