Here to Help: Where to get help in Thetford during the coronavirus outbreak

Iceland Food Warehouse is offering an hour window for the vulnerable to do their shopping. Picture:

Iceland Food Warehouse is offering an hour window for the vulnerable to do their shopping. Picture: Keith Mindham Photography - Credit: Photo: Keith Mindham Photography

People in Thetford are rallying to provide help to the vulnerable in their communities.

Here are the people and groups that are providing help in the town. We will be adding to this list on a rolling basis:

• Thetford’s Iceland Food Warehouse, in Breckland Retail Park, will open from 8am to 9pm every Wednesday, as a special one hour window once a week, to allow elderly or vulnerable customers the opportunity to shop before stocks of essential items are bought. It will continue opening from 8am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.

• A free support group, called Lighting the way out of the dark, is being offered via a private Facebook page for people who would to would like to share or receive support and guidance to help combat their anxieties. All content is positive and will include daily mindful activities, videos for support. Its founder Kimmi Denise said: “We are spreading light during what feels like the darkest time.”

Follow the facebook group here,, or email

• About Thetford magazine is set to deliver 12,500 copies of its latest publication to every home in the town. This will include a three page feature with support information for vulnerable people. The magazine’s editor and district and town councillor, Terry Jermy, said he wants to make sure those without access to the internet are able to find the right support. He said: “We have teamed up with Breckland to do a feature listing support available. A lot of people don’t have social media, and if you don’t have access to the internet it can be a life-line.”

• Brandon Community Support is a community group on Facebook for people in the town. It was set up by the Royal British Legion in Brandon who are offering to pick up shopping, post mail, collect urgent supplies or just a friendly phone call for vulnerable people who may be feeling lonely or are in self-isolation.

For more information follow the group here, or to offer your support email

• Rebecca Allen is a psychotherapist based at the Charles Burrell Centre, in Thetford, and is an expert at reducing stress and anxiety. She is offering her services to help the community combat any negative feelings they may be experiencing at this difficult time. Ms Allen will offer tips to overcome anxiety via a Facebook live videos.

The videos will be streamed on her Facebook group here, or for more support email Ms Allen’s first Facebook live video will take place on at 8pm on Friday, March 20.

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• Helping the vulnerable in Thetford is a community group on Facebook which is providing support for vulnerable people or those who are in self-isolation and are unable to perform tasks such as shopping, walking the dog or picking up medication.

For more information follow the group here, or call 07940029510. Sharon Thompson, who has taken over the group, is encouraging those who can spare their time to do their part to help others in the town.

• Ms Thompson also runs the Meet-n-Eat group on a Thursday, from 4pm to 8pm, at Pine Close Community Hall, which provides warm meals from donated food. There are three ways to receive a meal which include a small donation, swap food for food or donate time. Meet-n-Eat is currently still running but Ms Thompson says they will be focusing on feeding those who are most vulnerable right now, including Thetford families and the homeless.

• Melanie Sturman is a nurse who works for Norfolk County Council and is willing to be on standby for anyone who is in need of care or if carers fall ill. Ms Sturman says she is DBS checked and can cover Thetford and surrounding villages. Ms Sturman said: “It’s madness all of this but I want to help as much as I can.”

You reach her on her work mobile, 07747 898398.

• Tammy Oakley is a fully qualified and insured mobile dog groomer and holistic canine therapist based in Thetford, covering a 15-mile radius, and she is offering one to one dog walking services to those who are self isolating or experiencing symptoms and can’t leave the house.

For more information follow her facebook page here, or you can reach Ms Oakley on her mobile 07713 897570.

• Claire Watts is a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist with a BAHons in Integrative Counselling from University of Suffolk. Ms Watts volunteers with the Meet Up Benjamin Foundation in Thetford as a counsellor and is an emotional support worker working in schools via the Time For You service. She is offering free 20 minute phone calls, between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, for anyone who is isolated, anxious, or just looking for someone to talk to. Ms Watts will offer the free sessions until the end of may.

You can reach her on her mobile, 07368329716 or via her email address

• Michelle Jermy is a specialist exercise instructor and owner of The Wellness Clinic based at the Charles Burrell Centre. Ms Jermy works in exercise referral particularly with older adults and individuals with medical conditions and/or disabilities. She has taken The Wellness Clinic online and is offering a free timetable of pilates and yoga inspired sessions to keep the public well during these uncertain times. Everyday there are sessions including mobility and movement, chair based, floor work and standing, hip and back release, pelvic floor, core and more. In the evenings the sessions focus on stretching, relaxation, breathing techniques to reduce stress and aid better sleep.

For more information visit her Facebook group here, contact Ms Jermy via her mobile 07725582817.

• Paul Gordon has set up the Thetford Covid 19 community support group on Facebook so anyone in isolation or in need of basic supplies can post and ask for help from members of the community. Mr Gordon also posts coronavirus updates and links to other support groups and websites. He said: “I started the group after seeing for myself the selfish way people where acting in supermarkets. This is about pulling together as a community, helping the elderly and vulnerable and those in isolation that need help and support.”

For more information follow the Facebook group here,

• Keystone development trust is a local community resource who work in Thetford, Brandon and Mildenhall areas with the aim to enable and support people and groups in the local community. They are offering to help members of the community who are currently self-isolating and feeling lonely. In a statement released online Keystone said: “Are you a vulnerable adult self-isolating? Could you benefit from a friendly phone call? If you would like someone to check on you now and then or you need a small errand done, give us a call and leave your number and we will see what we can do.”

For the Keystone Innovation Centre call, 01842 768300 or for the Abbey Neighbourhood Centre call, 01842 821643.

• Richard Taylor runs Tiger Fitness at The Functional Fitness Suite which provides group training classes and Personal Training sessions. Mr Taylor said many of his gym members are worried about the coronavirus pandemic and are currently self-isolating so he wants to do his bit to help the community by offering a delivery service of equipment to those with monthly memberships - so they can workout at home. He has also started sharing links to online work outs. But as well as this, Mr Taylor said: “So I’ve partnered with The Gym Van Thetford and we’re going to throw a one hour fitness session at Melford common, on Sunday March 22, to encourage all those who are feeling a little distant from human interaction and who are not showing signs of coronavirus to get out and get their endorphins pumping. The event is completely free, however we are taking any donations for Thetford Foodbank.”

Follow Tiger Fitness’s Facebook page here,

Join the Here to Help Facebook Community here, you are doing something to help in your community, email

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