David Ellesmere Outside Ipswich Borough Council offices- Grafton House
David Ellesmere Outside Ipswich Borough Council offices- Grafton House

“Coronavirus case rates in Ipswich and Suffolk have increased significantly in recent weeks putting our NHS under huge pressure. We must all follow the new lockdown rules introduced earlier this week. We must stay home as much as we can and only leave home for the specific reasons allowed. We must continue to socially distance and wear face coverings. Together we can help protect the NHS and the lives of our loved ones.

In accordance with the new rules, the Council has closed gyms, tennis courts and table tennis in our parks, but the parks – and the play areas within them – remain open. I know what a lifeline our wonderful parks have been to so many people since this crisis started.

It is important that everyone who is told to self-isolate by the NHS does so, but it can be a worrying time financially. That’s why we’ve increased the number of people who now qualify for a £500 self-isolation payment. If you need financial support to self-isolate please check whether you’re eligible.

If your business has been negatively affected by the latest restrictions then you will probably be eligible for a Government grant. There are a wide, and sometimes confusing, range of grants now available. If you think you might qualify for help, please apply and we will make sure you receive all the grants you are entitled to.

It is going to be a really tough couple of months for many people. Do ask for help if you are struggling. Our Home, But Not Alone helpline (0800 876 6926) is there to help.

The one glimmer of hope is that vaccinations are now being rolled out in Suffolk. More local centres should be opening soon – including Gainsborough Sports Centre. You don’t need to ring your GP – the NHS will contact you when it is your turn to get a vaccine.  Please make sure you book your appointment when they do.”

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