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Communities Together East Anglia

Spring 2023 Newsletter  

Springtime wishes

As we start to think about what 2023 will bring, I wonder how many of us (and I include myself in that!) have already “broken” our New Year Resolution? Straight away by saying “broken” we’re being negative and casting doubt on ourselves, rather than looking at how we can turn the year into a positive experience. We know first hand at CTEA how challenging times are for the people we support, but we also know that with the right support, friendship and community, we can help to make things better for all. Most of all, Be Kind. Wishing you well for 2023 – Jo.

Quiz and Curry Night

We are hosting another Spring Quiz and Curry Night after great success last year raising invaluable funds to support our services. You can book a team of 4-6 people, tickets £15 per person and will be held at Venue 16, 312 Tuddenham Road, Ipswich, IP4 3QJ on 23rd March, 7pm.

Enjoy a buffet consisting of three different curries, a raffle and rounds of quiz fun. To book a place please contact Jenny on 07988705120 or email

We have the Coronation to look forward to – an extra Bank Holiday and an opportunity to focus on the good rather than “not so good”. We’ll be using the opportunity to launch a 12 month volunteer campaign, so keep an eye on our website for how to get involved!

Over 1650 people supported through our projects & services

Later Life Community Connect

As we put the Winter Season behind us, we welcome you to the Spring Edition of our Newsletter. The Connect service is now 2 years old and the number of people reaching out to us continues to grow, recording over 480 clients accessing our service. Now that we have packed away our woolly scarves and gloves in the hope of seeing some spring sunshine why don’t you get in touch with us to find out what events are happening in your local community?

We have a variety of groups running across the county, including Community Cuppa’s, Pop Up Chinwags, Ageing Well groups and Memory Cafes.

Get in touch with us to find out what’s going on in your local area, or perhaps you can tell us about some of the great things that your community is getting up to!

Worried about day to day finances?

We are aware that the cost of living is still a big issue for people in Suffolk right now so we would like to encourage anyone who has worries concerning this to get in touch so we can help you to find out what help could be available.

We know how important it is for people to be able to actually talk to a person and this is why connect is available 7 days a week between the times of 10.00am and 2.00pm.

If you have a problem or query, whatever it may be, why not give us a call on our support line – 01284 334516 to see if we can help. Amanda, Jane and Tracy are here to help.



Say hello to… Rachel!

“Hello, I’m Rachel, I recently joined CTEA as a Community Engagement Co-ordinator. Previously I have worked in retail & telecommunications. I enjoy getting out and about into the community, meeting new faces, supporting CTEA projects and being able to make a difference. Outside of work I am kept busy with my two boys and can often be found standing on the side-lines of a muddy football pitch! I like getting out in the fresh air and stomping through the fields with our dog.” Rachel Childs (Community Engagement Co-ordinator)

 Later Life Community – BeAFriend

We often get asked “so what is befriending?” We think of it as a route to opening up options for building friendships and support – this could be through telephone, digital, penpal, face to face, or through social groups – all of these are ways to encourage friendships in a safe way supported by our fabulous volunteers. Often our befrienders start by telephone, and move onto face to face, just like Rose & Tabitha!

Rose, 96 years old lives in West Suffolk and became a client of Communities Together East Anglia in March 2022. After speaking over the phone she was isolated with no family around her and was seeking a befriender. Rose loves to chat, listen to music and watch films. Tabitha became a volunteer in September 2022 after we approached her place of work, Gallaghers. Tabitha wanted to give back to her community but while working full time only has limited hours. The telephone befriending project works well for Tabitha’s busy schedule where she speaks to Rose once or twice a week. After speaking over the phone for 6 months they both wanted to meet face to face so Tabitha met Rose for the first time in January and a true friendship has blossomed.

Although we have a specialism in supporting people in later life, everything that we do is about reducing loneliness and isolation – and of course, we all know that this can be a concern for all ages.

As part of our future work, we are going to be offering a broadened BeAFriend service, that is open to all adult ages, so if you think that this is something you would benefit from, please get in touch. We work hard to get the right match, so it may not happen straight away but if we don’t know, we can’t help!


If you live in or near Ipswich – come and join us on a Tuesday afternoon at The Unity Centre (Whitton Clinic). Each Tuesday afternoon we’ll be hosting a FREE activity so come along and join us for a cuppa and cake! 1st Tuesday – Community Cuppa 2nd Tuesday – Physical Activity session – Otago/Boccia* 3rd Tuesday – Tea & Tech (see Later Life Community Online) 4th Tuesday – Physical Activity session – Otago/Boccia* To book, call 01284 334516/01449 707030

Later Life Community Online

Does the “digital world” confuse you? Would you like to use a device to help keep connected with friends, family, local groups, book appointments etc? If you would like support with using a phone, tablet, or laptop, why not come along to one of our Tea & Tech sessions currently running monthly in Stowmarket, Ipswich and Haverhill. One of our volunteer Digital Champions will support you using your device effectively and safely, in a friendly, non-judgemental space, all with tea and cake!

New locations for Spring 2023:

Long Melford


To book a place contact Tracey on 01449 7070303 or

We work with adult learning providers, Realise Futures to offer Tablet Courses throughout the year.

Our spring courses start from the 2nd March:



Bury St Edmunds

For people aged 55+, we offer 6-week tuition on an Amazon Fire Tablet. This is a free course but if your able to donate either at the time of booking or at the end of the course, this goes towards supporting the next set of sessions to reach more people. Booking is required by calling Tracey on 01449 707030.

Online Safety Tips

Using the internet is a great way to stay connected in our ever-changing world, but just like crossing a road you need to look out for dangers, here are a couple of key tips to assist you when browsing on the internet:

Always look for the Padlock symbol, make sure it shows as locked and no red line or X over it. A legitimate Website will have https:// after the padlock. If your Antivirus protection on your device opens a pop out screen, saying this site is Not Safe, do not ignore it, click off the website using the X in the top right-hand side on your screen, then you can continue your search.

Community Is Key…

As we start to enjoy the lighter evenings and warmer days, the Communities Team are looking forward to getting out and about and meeting more communities in Suffolk.

The Chinwags and Community Cuppas are still proving popular and we are seeing familiar and new faces at these events. At time of print, we go to the following towns and villages during the month. These are a mix of Chinwags and Community Cuppas. (the difference between the two is we have entertainment at the Chinwag, normally music and slightly better cake 😊)

East Suffolk

Carlton Colville – 1st Friday morning of the month

Beccles – 1st Friday afternoon of the month

Halesworth – 2nd Friday morning of the month

Reydon – 2nd Friday afternoon of the month

Woodbridge – 4th Tuesday afternoon of the month

Wickham Market – Last Friday morning of the month


Ipswich – 1st Tuesday afternoon of the month

Ipswich – 3rd Wednesday afternoon of the month

Mid Suffolk & Babergh

Eye – Last Thursday morning of the month

Times and type of event vary, so for more information about a particular location please call 01449 707030 or email:

2023 has seen the Communities Team grow and they are busy sharing information about the services and support Communities Together East Anglia in areas where we have not visited before. Areas we are currently looking at include Sudbury, Eye, Hadleigh, Mildenhall, Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket & Stowupland and Debenham as well as Ipswich.

If you live in these areas and would like to share information about your community, we would love to hear from you. Alternatively, if you host a warm venue or run a community group, please get in touch.

A Focus on East Suffolk

As part of our “all adult age” engagement, in East Suffolk, we have two great new initiatives for people to join – both using digital engagement as the key.

Online Cuppa & Chat

The Online Cuppa and Chats are sessions that take place from the comfort of your own home whilst connecting with others living in East Suffolk. These sessions take place on Wednesdays 11am-12noon To join you need the zoom app and meeting number 895 476 2738. If you would like to help accessing these, give us a call on 01449 707030 and we’ll be happy to assist!

Cuppa & Chat – Facebook Group

We’ve set up a private group under our Communities Together East Anglia facebook page for people living and working in East Suffolk to build a social network digitally. We want to hear about what you like (and don’t like) about East Suffolk, what’s going and what you would like to see more of. Just look us up under the Communities Together East Anglia page and ask to join!


 Felixstowe CAN

Felixstowe CAN (Community Action Network) is a hyper-local action project to bring together all the groups, activities and support that is on offer to the people of Felixstowe and surrounding areas to make it easier for people to access and find out what may be appropriate for them. With a dedicated co-ordinator, telephone number, email address and website people living in the Felixstowe area will be able to access support through a single route of supported signposting.

There’s lots of ways to get in touch. For more information about this project call 01394 332446, email or visit our website at


Suffolk Carers Matter

We continue to support family carers across Suffolk with information, advice and signposting, both through professional and self-referrals. We meet many carers through our community engagement programme of activities and events and this is a great opportunity for us to chat to carers in a safe, trusted environment about the challenges they may be facing. Our carer specialists work closely with the community engagement team to support them but are also available to have conversations more specific to individual caring roles. As part of this, we also offer an opportunity to access Carer Counselling through our partner MTCIC – this is a course of counselling specifically to address issues or concerns directly related to the caring role.

Suffolk Carers Natter

Our popular Natter groups are an opportunity for family carers to meet others local to them, in a community space, over a cuppa. Over a period of 6-8 weeks we will support attendees to build up a peer to peer support network that can continue independently over time. These are a great opportunity to share experiences and challenges, make friends, and meet up and chat in a safe, non judgemental space. These are free events and there is no need to book – just turn up and join us for a cuppa and chat.

Locations for current “Natters” include:

  • Eye
  • Sudbury
  • Wickham Market
  • Ipswich – Morrisons
  • Southwold
  • Pakefield

Caring & Beyond

A new project supporting those who are no longer in a caring role, or moving out of one. Your caring role may have changed – or even disappeared, and this might be due to bereavement, someone moving into long term residential care, or simply a change of family dynamics. This is not grief support, but is designed to support you in life rebuilding.

Delivered in partnership with Being Well In Suffolk (BWIS). groups are running February – April, May – August and September – December, with locations to be determined.

If you would like to find out more please call us on 01449 707030 and speak with Vicki or email

For more information about our groups and carer support activities, call 01449 707030 or email

Community Transport

The Right Time, Right Place

Running a transport service is certainly never dull – every day is different – buses breakdown, appointments are changed, and the traffic…

But, importantly, we do our best to get you to where you need to be, when you need to be there – always with a welcoming smile and a listening ear. If you live in Ipswich or Mid Suffolk, why not give us a call on 01449 614271 and let us take you to where you need to be.

There is a charge for the service, but prices start from just £2.50 for a single journey and we also accept travel vouchers. Although journeys must be pre-booked, you can pay (tap and go) on the buses.

Suffolk Coastal – 01728 635938

West Suffolk – 01638 664304

Babergh – 01473 826242

Waveney – 01986 896896

Register with us for a quicker booking!

If you are travelling with uor the first time, we will need to take some information from you, so if you think you may like to use our service, it’s a good idea to register before you need to book and then we will be ready to get you booked in when you need us.
You can call us on 01449 614271 between 9am – 4pm, Monday – Friday and speak to Jo, Katie, Linda, Jan or Andrea who will be happy to help you.

Do you need a minibus for an activity or event – our 14 seater private hire minibus is fully wheelchair accessible and your hire comes complete with a friendly driver to take you to where you need to be. For a competitive quote, give us a call on 01449 614271.

Our Rickshaw Project is based at Red Gables in Stowmarket. Rides can be booked in the immediate local area by calling us on 01449 614271.

Other Useful Numbers


  • ActivLives – 01473 345350
  • Activities Unlimited – 01473 260026
  • Citizen’s Advice – 0800 144 8848
  • Dementia Connect (Alzheimer’s Society) – 0333 150 3456
  • Hadleigh Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) – 07976 603805
  • Ipswich Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) – 07467 336348
  • Leading Lives – 01473 406777
  • Lofty Heights Suffolk – 01473 345301
  • P.A.C.T. (Parents and Carers Together) – 07856-038799
  • RAF Benevolent Fund – 01491 837766 ext 6536 or 5299
  • Realise Futures – 01473 406777
  • Rural Coffee Caravan – 01379 855338
  • SSAFA Suffolk –01787 377 850
  • Stowmarket Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) – 07515-937045
  • Suffolk Family Carers (Carers Support) – 01473-835477
  • Suffolk Mind (Mental Health Support) – 0300-111-6000
  • The Salvation Army – (020) 7367 4500
  • The Royal British Legion – 0808 802 8080
  • Wellbeing Suffolk – 0300 123 1503 Mental Health, Wellbeing and Emotional Support (


We can help you to be referred to any of these organisations and more, by calling our Connect line on 01284 334516

Volunteer with Us

We have big plans but need your help to spread the word.

We are currently recruiting volunteers for the following roles:

  • Be-A-Friend Volunteers
  • Community Car Drivers
  • Stowmarket Rickshaw Pilots (Riders !)
  • Community Engagement Volunteers
  • Meet & Greet Event Volunteers
  • Digital Champions

Full training provided & DBS checks undertaken

Contact us on 01449-707030 OR Email


‘Volunteering is fun and rewarding. The benefits are enormous – exchanging experiences and learning, giving back to the local community, being a friend to someone in need, getting role specific training, feeling valued and having purpose. You can shape both your own and someone else’s world with just the giving of your time.’
Contact us on 01449-707030
or email