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Communities Together East Anglia

Winter 2022 Newsletter  

Keeping Safe, Warm & Cosy

It’s impossible to escape the very real concerns over cost of living and increase in fuel costs that we are all starting to experience, but, it is also critical that we all do our best to stay warm and safe through the colder months, particular for those more vulnerable, who may experience health challenges exacerbated by the cold. Suffolk is pulling together however, and through an ever growing network of Warm Spaces, community venues are offering up their space as a safe, warm place for people to go through the winter months. With over 300 currently registered, you can find the nearest spaces to you by visiting or give us a call on 01449 707030. The Rural Coffee Caravan team and our Community Engagement team spent a day filling over 300 envelopes to send out to all warm spaces with some useful information, so don’t forget to check this out if you visit!

A time to reflect

We’ve been thinking back in our office, about all the changes that our charity has seen over the last two years – from taking on and starting new services, supporting West Suffolk Hospital with patient flow and discharge to changing our name to Communities Together East Anglia, in May this year. None of this would be possible without a committed, passionate, flexible staff and volunteer team, so as we think about heading into our third year of “new”, I wanted to just say a big thanks to everyone who has made this possible – and because of this, we have been able to reach out and support so many people in our communities across the county. Jo Reeder – CEO

Over 1571 people supported through our projects & services

Later Life Community Connect

Throughout Suffolk there are ‘Warm Spaces’ being provided for people to stop by and warm up with a hot drink for a while. Included in these are our very own Community Cuppas and Chinwags. If you have any worries about how you are going to meet the cost of rising fuel bills we can refer you to your nearest Citizens Advice for help and support with applying for financial and practical help to keep your home warm. As the Christmas Holiday period draws nearer we are aware that many people find themselves alone during this time. Last year there were a number of Community Christmas lunches provided by various organisations. Please get in touch with us if you would like us to find out what is available in your area. With all the worries over bills and the cost of the festive period it is more important than ever to take care of your mental health. If you can, try to wrap up and get out into the fresh air either on your own or as part of a guided walk. (but take extra care in icy weather!) If you would like more information on walks for wellbeing near you, please get in touch.

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… Jayne RE!

‘My name is Jayne and I’m the one of the newest members of Communities Together East Anglia. I was a Bank Manager for many years but then took a sabbatical and realised that I wanted to work in the charity sector to give something back. I worked for AgeUK for some years and am now delighted to be working as a Befriending Coordinator for our BeAFriend Service’ Jayne Rowley-Evans (Later Life Community Befriending Co-ordinator)

365 Days a Year…

365 Days a Year…. Here at CTEA we are passionate about doing what we can to combat loneliness and social isolation – although we focus on our older generation, we know that loneliness doesn’t just affect people in later life. Equally, people are not lonely Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm. That’s why our Connect line is available 10am – 2pm every day of the year – with a real person there to have a chat with you. Although this is predominantly for older people, if you feel you need to have a chat, or need to find out information about support needed, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, whatever your age – if we can’t help you, we’ll do our best to find someone who can!

 Later Life Community – BeAFriend

The BeAFriend (befriending service) is gaining ground, however, we have around 60-80 clients who are very much in need of a friend to help with isolation and loneliness. In particular we would love to source more volunteers in the Ipswich, Shotley and Holbrook areas.

BeAFriend can be actioned by meeting face-2-face, emailing, writing or telephoning. We try extra hard to ensure that our volunteers and clients are well-matched in terms of their personality, geography and interests. Because of this, it can take a while to find an appropriate volunteer as we want to get it right the first time.

Befriending can be for as little as a couple of hours each week and is so rewarding. We pay reasonable expenses, provide training and support both clients and volunteers to get the best out of the experience.

Winter can be a particularly lonely time for the over 65s especially when the nights are drawing in and the cost of living crisis is a worrying time. It really does make a difference to someone’s day to know that they are going to hear or see their friend, to have a chat and to feel involved in their community.

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in making friends with someone, please do contact us on 01449 707030 or email

The Memory thief.

The stealer of memories waits at the door, You wont know he’s there or who he’s come for.

He comes unannounced, he wont ring the bell. But he’ll lead you the slow dance, on a journey to hell.

We first knew about him & “clocked” his “M.O.” When he called on Jills Dad all those years ago.

It was 2004 when he visited us Didnt spot him first off, life was going so well.

We’d known each other nearly 10 and 3 score, Lovers & best friends, you cant ask for more.

But, The stealer of memories was ready to start. To leave us bereft, with a broken heart.

Friends, family, children, have all been by our side, They all understand, theres no places to hide.

Thank goodness for music & songs of the past. In spite of all else, they manage to last.

How long will it be? theres no way to tell. So onward we go on the slow dance to hell.

Its not your fault, you havent done wrong But you can overcome, with Love unconditional, laughter & song.


Poem written by Steve W about his feelings when his wife was diagnosed with Dementia

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

As the winter draws in and the outside doesn’t seem so appealing, getting online and staying in touch with family, friends, clubs, and groups is a good way to keep socialising, reduce loneliness, all from the comfort of your own home. In the last 6 months we have helped 35 people gain access to a digital device and our Tea & Tech support sessions have seen 65 participants taking part! Why not join our growing group of participants and find out from us how you can be supported in your digital journey.

In September we welcomed the Mayor of Stowmarket Barry Salmon and his Consort Cllr Heather Salmon, they attended our Tea & Tech project at the library, very enjoyable afternoon, with participants the Mayor and Consort all sharing stories around digital and being online.

What are tablet courses?

The tablet course is designed to take you through the basic steps of setting up a tablet, understanding the functions, how to navigate around your tablet including accessing the internet, most of all increasing your confidence in using digital technology Eligibility: Need to be 55+, no prior skills required & free to access.

Tablet Course will go live again in: Spring, Summer & Autumn 2023 Locations/Dates & Times TBC 2-hour weekly sessions for 6 weeks

Get in touch to express your interest in accessing the Tablet Course. 01449 7070303 or

Start your Digital Journey in 2023 and either join one of our tablet courses or come along to a Tea & Tech session

Community Is Key…

With 2023 not far away, we have been reflecting on a busy and interesting year for the Community Engagement Team.

Tracey E and Sharon have been connecting with the people of Suffolk and their Communities. From Chinwags in Ipswich to Community Cuppa’s in Hollesley, hosting the East Suffolk ‘Ease the Squeeze’ money roadshows at the Woodbridge, Carlton Colville and Reydon Community Cuppa’s they have engaged with lots of people, sharing information and signposting where necessary.

One thing that is guaranteed with all our events is that a warm welcome is always on hand and there is tea /coffee & cake.

2023 will see the Communities Team expanding and the team covering more of Suffolk. January will see the launch of a Chinwag / Community Cuppa in Beccles and we’ll be working on a new project in Felixstowe bringing together all the great support available to make it easier for people to access what they need.


Monthly Cuppa / Chinwag

Carlton Colville – 1st Friday of the Month – 10am – midday

Reydon – 2nd Friday of the month – 2pm – 4pm

Wickham Market – Starting January 2023 – Last Friday of the month – 10am – midday

Woodbridge – Community Cuppa – 4th Tuesday of the month 10am – midday (with exception of December & March) Chinwag – Sunday 18th December 2022 & Sunday 26th March 2023 – 2pm – 4pm


The Unity Centre, Ipswich – Community Cuppa – 1st Tuesday of the month 2pm – 4pm

The Meeting Place, Limerick Close, Ipwich – Chinwag – 3rd Wednesday of the month 2pm – 4pm


Eye – The Michael Burke Wellbeing Centre – Community Cuppa last Thursday of the month 10am – midday.

If you would like us to visit your town, village or community or would like more details about our Cuppa’s and Chinwags, we can be contacted in the following ways: email telephone 01284 334516

For people living in East Suffolk, 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 Monday Morning 10am – 11am. Wednesday evening 7pm – 8pm and Friday lunchtime – 12 noon – 1pm. 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

Suffolk Carers Matter

We are keen to receive recommendations of accessible spots across Suffolk for this autumn/winter. Where is your go-to place for a breath of fresh air and maybe a cuppa afterwards? One such suggestion near to our HQ in Mid Suffolk is Needham Lakes. Plentiful parking and a circular – accessible – route around the lake for those who are mobile but also those who are not so and use mobility aids. Afterwards, there is the option of the newly opened café this year The Duck & Teapot with excellent toilet/changing facilities and a pleasant selection of refreshments/bites to eat. Do let us know if there is anywhere close to you in Suffolk that you recommend to other carers/cared-for. 01449-707030

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.


Brandon, Tilly’s Tearooms 1st/3rd Wednesday of the month – 10am – 12pm

Wickham Market, Vida Haus Café 1st Tuesday of the month – 10am to 12pm

Morrison’s Café, Pakefield 3rd Tuesday of the month – 10am to 12pm

Felixstowe, The Cliff Top Café 2nd/4th Thursday of the month – 10.30am to 12.30pm

Woodbridge, Christine’s Tearooms 2nd/4th Wednesdays of the month– 2pm to 4pm

Thurston, The Fox and Hounds Pub Thursdays fortnightly – 2pm to 4pm

Eye – The Bank Arts Centre Thursdays fortnightly 10.30am – 12.30pm

Needham Market – Roots and Shoots Tuesdays (2nd/4th weeks) – 10am to 12pm

Stowmarket – Langams Café Tuesdays starting 11th October (2nd/4th weeks) – 1.00pm to 3.00pm

Do you need support this winter?

The ‘Cost of Living’ crisis is at the forefront of our minds this as we head into winter. In particular, you may have noticed the media attention given to households who need to run medical equipment, run fridges for medication, or charge mobility aids for example. If this is you as carer to a beloved cared-for person, do make us aware. We can’t promise to solve absolutely everything, but don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help and advice at this time. We will do our very best to assist. you can email us at or call 01449-707030

New Natter Groups (from October)

  • Morrison’s Café Ipswich 4th Thursday of the month – starting 24th November – 10am to 12pm
  • Adnam’s Cafe Southwold 4th Wednesday of the month – starting 23rd November – 10am-12pm
  • Painters Cafe at the Angel Sudbury 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month – starting 23rd November – 10am-12pm

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