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Coronavirus: Newmarket town council pledges £10,000 to support virus volunteer effort




Newmarket councillors have pledged £10,000 to support a huge volunteer effort aimed at caring for the town’s most vulnerable and isolated residents during the coronavirus crisis.

At what is likely to be the town council’s last meeting for the forseeable future on Monday, members will agree to set up a £10,000 support fund which is likely to be bolstered by a further £10,000 surplus from the authority’s current budget.

“We have a considerable amount of money to support our community through this difficult time and we want them to know we are here for them,” said acting town council manager Deborah Sarson.

Newmarket Suffolk Memorial HallPicture Mark Westley. (31895080)
Newmarket Suffolk Memorial HallPicture Mark Westley. (31895080)

“The town council should be the link between the vulnerable and the volunteers.”

A working group of councillors met on Tuesday to discuss how the council could help local individuals and organisations already working to set up a network of volunteers across the town ready to provide assistance to those struggling to cope.

Lucinda Bennett, who lives in Lowther Street, used Facebook to galvanise residents and on Tuesday she said she had been inundated with responses with more than 300 people signing up to help.

At the meeting she welcomed the town council becoming a main contact point.

Trapped: Paul and Karen Couzens, and their granddaughter Violet, who are hoping to escape the lockdown in Spain on the last UK flight from Alicante tomorrow.
Trapped: Paul and Karen Couzens, and their granddaughter Violet, who are hoping to escape the lockdown in Spain on the last UK flight from Alicante tomorrow.

“The response has been overwhelming,” said Lucinda, who is a registered nurse, “what we need to do now is make sure the help gets to the people who most need it.”

At Tuesday’s meeting town council representatives agreed the council would be a central contact point for anyone needing help or information, with councillors volunteering to answer the telephones. It would also be setting up a data base with details of those in need of support.

Anyone who needs help should call the town council on 01638 667227.

Claire Elbrow, who is chairman of Cheveley Parish Council, told the meeting similar schemes were also being set up in villages around Newmarket.


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