Is this the calm before the storm?  

We’ve continued to help many local people with food, Universal Credit applications, debt and more. So far, things have been calmer than we feared. But the next few months could see unemployment rates triple and a surge of debt like we’ve never known.

During lockdown, with our staff mainly home based, we’ve continued to help local people with food, Universal Credit applications, debt and more. Over the summer holidays, more families will need food parcels although not as many as we’d feared, thanks to Marcus Rashford persuading the government to extend their school meals voucher scheme. That was really welcome news!

But food parcels are really only a temporary fix.  They don’t solve the underlying issue, which is often debt. And helping people get on top of debt is why I started Reach in 2005. Debt robs people of hope – it leaves them feeling trapped, powerless, and dreading that knock at the door or the phone to ring… it’s exhausting and depressing, and it can put you on a downward spiral that it’s really hard to escape from.

We’ve helped hundreds of families to successfully rise above debt over the years. And in the coming months, we’re gearing up to help more than ever before.

Because as the economy shrinks and furloughed workers are laid off, we believe we’re going to see a storm of personal debt the likes of which we’ve never known. It will affect people from all walks of life, all levels of society, even those who’ve always been ‘successful’.

It could affect anyone. It could affect YOU. It may be affecting you already.

REACH is here to help ANYONE that’s struggling – including you.

If you’re struggling with debt or know you soon will be because your income is reducing and isn’t going to cover your outgoings - please, please get in touch NOW!

Don’t put it off until you get into real difficulties. The earlier you ask us for help, the better we’ll be able to help you to weather the storm and get your life back on track.

If you know someone else who may soon be losing their income – please forward this information to them.  We don’t want anyone to struggle when there may be something we can do to help.


Call us 01440 712950 or email

For a more detailed timeline on local need and our response, click here.

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We Won!! 

“Well, who would have believed it? - We actually won the Hopkins Homes Suffolk Vote! That’s an amazing £7000 for Resource Centre refurbishment project!  Thank you for taking the time to vote for us, it means a lot.  We really didn’t expect to win, but even if we hadn’t, we’ve had such fun with the social media campaign, and so to win was a massive bonus!
Thank you also to Josh Hopkins from Hopkins Homes and Andrea Pittock from the Suffolk Community Foundation who came across to the Resource Centre to make the presentations to us and the runners up - Ipswich Housing Action Group and Halesworth Volunteer Centre.  Any one of the 7 charities could have won it as all are doing amazing work across the county, so thank you very much for your continued support - we really do appreciate it!” 

Hopkins Cheque small

Henry Wilson, 23/03/2018

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Reaching out into the Community - One Year On 

Tina and Jo smallAs early as 2014 at Reach we were aware of barriers to our services, especially anyone living in the villages.  From time to time we would receive a call from a Doctor’s surgery or a family support worker in Clare or Linton asking if we might be able to help a patient or a family they were assisting.  Our resources at the time dictated that our work was centred on Haverhill, not exclusively, but if you needed help and from a village, it generally meant coming in to see us at the Resource Centre on the Clements Estate in Haverhill.
By 2015 we began to dream of satellite centres in partnership with a local church in that community.  Following the launch of ‘The Hidden Needs Report’ by Suffolk Community Foundation in September 2016, highlighting the growth in rural poverty in Suffolk it was time to act.  With some initial funding from the ONE Haverhill Partnership we launched our Reach into the Community project in January 2017, essentially carrying out home visits.
The project has grown and although not running satellite centres yet, we appointed Jo Goodhall for the Haverhill and Stour Valley area and Tina Rice for the South Cambs corridor (see Tina’s piece below).
Well, one year on we now have updated our statistics for the year and these make interesting reading!

  • Throughout 2016 we fed 43 people from rural areas around Haverhill from the foodbank.  In 2017 we fed 145 people in the rural areas!
  • In 2016 rural areas amounted to just 4% of the people helped by Haverhill foodbank, it now stands at 10%
  • More than £1500 of client aid has been distributed through Acts 435 as well many other services including debts, form completion and general support 

Naturally we are delighted with the impact that Reach into the Community is having in the rural areas, we do have a great team and that includes the volunteers that accompany Jo & Tina on their home visits.  If you too would like to accompany Jo or Tina on any of their home visits, please do get in touch with the office on 01440 712950 or  Thank you.

Henry Wilson, 01/03/2018

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A Message from Henryhenry circle

Last week I came across a couple of pieces of paper on which I had written ‘Christmas 2017’.  I remembered that it was what I said I would like to see by the 2017 Christmas party.  As I read the notes, I was greatly encouraged to read that what I had written had pretty much happened!  For example; satellite centres in villages such as Linton and Clare, and although we don’t exactly have ‘satellite centres’ as such, we do have two great ladies working out in the community bringing hope and all the Reach resources via home visits to the rural areas.  Tina covers the villages from Haverhill into South Cambs, eg. Linton and Abington and Jo covers Haverhill and the surrounding villages eg. Wickhambrook and Clare etc [1].
From 1st April to 30th November we have seen a doubling of our foodbank use in the rural communities compared to the same period last year![2]  Whilst other support services in the villages have been cut, those that remain like schools and midwives have welcomed us, especially in South Cambs where Tina is receiving requests for help almost on a daily basis!
Meanwhile Jo (see below), who has only been with us since September is busy building links and supporting those struggling with poverty related issues; people like ‘Terry’ who was formerly homeless but now can rest in the knowledge of having a roof over his head this winter.
It really is an amazing privilege to work with such a great team in serving the local community, we really couldn’t do it without you.  A big thank you for all your support throughout 2017; we do have ambitious plans for 2018, but more of that next month. For now may I wish you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful new year.

[1] Reach into the community
[2] Of the 968 people fed through the foodbank, 97 are from rural communities compared to last year where 784 people were fed and just 37 were from rural communities

Henry Wilson, 14/12/2017

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