• Toby and Laurie - Don't shut me out

The Suffolk Coast Christmas Song - 'Don't Shut me Out'

The anticipation of being able to celebrate Christmas with loved ones, after the sobering experience of having to be apart last year, is the best gift of all for 2021. Being together, warm and cosy, surrounded by family, friends, food and drink, gifts and festive cheer means more than ever.

Sadly, last year’s experience is not a one-off for many. Christmas can be such a lonely, troubled time. It’s a time that can leave people more vulnerable than ever. 

Two young, talented, Suffolk coast musicians, Toby Young from Leiston and Laurie Willey from Hollesley, have created a beautiful song carrying a simple message, to open our hearts and not shut people out this Christmas, and we think it’s a message worth spreading! 

You can listen to ‘Don’t shut me out’ here, please share it.

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Ed and Elton eat your hearts out!

Please support your local charities

The work of charities who look after people in need often goes unnoticed.  We want to say a big thank you to everyone who helps on the front line and behind the scenes to deliver the care that makes a difference to so many people, whether homeless, struggling will mental ill health, addiction, abuse, loneliness, the list goes on.

A simple Google search for 'charities near me' will reveal a long list of organisations all local to you and worthy of your support. 

Here are a handful of local Suffolk organisations offering support to people who are vulnerable. If you're a local, please help them to continue their hugely valuable work by supporting them, or if you are in need yourself contact them direct.

Emmaus Suffolk is a charity which works with vulnerable, socially isolated people and those at risk of homelessness across the county.

The Bus Shelter Ipswich is part of a growing network working towards reducing the amount of rough sleepers on our streets by providing people with a warm dry and safe environment, as well as hot food, and the support they need to get back into society.

The Benjamin Foundation wants to end youth homelessness and they're tackling the problem locally by providing a home and support to over 100 vulnerable young adults every night. 

Combat2Coffee founded by former prison officer and veteran, Nigel Seaman, Combat2Coffee is a CIC dedicated to improving the mental health, wellbeing and outcomes for veterans, their families and communities via social prescribing, training and rehabilitation.

Suffolk Refugee Support help refugees and asylum seekers by offering quality independent advice and support, help with education, employment, access to immigration advice, housing, utilities, welfare benefits and more. No matter what the problem, they aim to resolve it.

Home-Start in Suffolk In an ideal world Home-Start wouldn’t be needed. But for many parents the pressures of family life are simply too much to cope with alone. There are so many reasons for this including - poverty, illness, family breakdowns, isolation, addiction and physical and mental health issues. Home-Start in Suffolk is the county's largest family support charity. Their vision is that every child in Suffolk is given the best start in life because of the love, support and guidance they receive from their parents, guardians or the people performing the role of their parents.

Iceni – this charity has devoted over 20 years giving families the hope they need to thrive. Since 1998, Iceni has worked tirelessly to help children and parents in Ipswich and Suffolk overcome the challenges brought about by domestic abuse, addiction and dependency.

Their success to date is attributable to a ‘holistic’ approach, built on the solid foundations of a client-centred and non-judgmental ethos.

Suffolk Mind - all of us have mental health, just as we have physical health. We are all on the mental health continuum – and we move up and down it depending on how we cope with the challenges of life and the stresses that it creates.

Suffolk Mind works across the continuum, from wellbeing to ‘severe and enduring’ mental ill-health, providing support & information for everyone.

4YP – Suffolk Young People's Health Project (also known as 4YP) is a local charity which provides and coordinates services that improve the social, emotional, and physical health and wellbeing of young people in Suffolk, aged 12-25.

Help in a crisis?

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis please contact your GP, call 999, call Samaritans on 116123, or call 111 for non-urgent advice.  You can find more information on local support here:

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation – https://www.nsft.nhs.uk/help-in-a-crisis