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BASIC Life Charity – August’s Update



From the initial idea in 1997, through our acceptance as a registered Charitable Trust in 2000, Felixstowe based BASIC, an independent Charitable Trust, has been able to assist many groups, organisations and individuals with financial, practical and general support. We are a ‘people’ charity and believe our mission is to support those in need and to provide assistance for those who are otherwise prevented from realising their own charitable goals.

New Face

BASIC are really pleased to be able to introduce our new Management Assistant, Stephanie Goulding.

Steph has a great deal of experience in retail locally and we know she will be a great asset to the charity. She will be helping with the administration and overseeing the operation of both of our shops. We know the Felixstowe and Walton public will give her a warm welcome!


‘I don’t know if you can help me, but…’

These are often the first words we hear when somebody is in need of assistance. 

So how do BASIC deal with these requests?

Well, quite often the request is for something which BASIC does not provide but we know somebody who does! So we do a lot of ‘signposting’ to other organisations in the town who are better equipped to help.

When a request meets our criteria of being a real BASIC need which needs addressing and the applicant has exhausted all other means of meeting it, we will do our best to help. We ask the

applicant to fill in a simple application form and then, if we feel it meets our ideals, we will try to help as soon as possible.

One of the advantages of BASIC is that we are local people and you don’t have to wait weeks for an answer from ‘head office’.  

In the last month alone we have provided financial assistance to a family who needed safety locks for their windows, fencing for a family where the children were at risk and donations of household goods have been made to local people who have found themselves in extreme need.

This type of assistance is ongoing and, for obvious reasons, we are unable to publish the details.

In addition, we have our regular support through our food banks and the provision of free breakfasts to the children at two local schools.

We also have our Blake appeal where we are raising funds for a local child who needs specialist medical assistance.

So, if you need help, please contact us. We will always be here to support those in the most need in our community.

Have BASIC helped you in the past?

If they have and you’re willing to share your story, please email the Editor at:


Felixstowe’s Tara Cross Shows a Little Care Goes a Long Way



Tara Cross works full time in the shipping industry, but during lockdown while working, she’s been volunteering to assist those in need. Here she is to tell you a bit about the things she’s been doing…

During lockdown I saw a post on Facebook for a group called Felixstowe Helping Hands which I then joined. I collected and distributed Helping Hands leaflets to my road and four neighbouring roads and was allocated as a volunteer for anyone in need in those roads. At the start of the group being setting up by Darren I was contacted to ask if I could assist one of my neighbours who are shielding in getting food shopping for them. At the time many shops were sold out of the items they needed so I had to get their shopping from three different shops so they had everything they needed. Thankfully since then items are easier to find and I have been doing their shopping every time I go for my own shop and are continuing to do so at the moment. When I drop their shopping off I always stand outside for a few minutes and have a friendly chat. They have asked on a couple of occasions when shopping for them if I could pick up myself some flowers as a thank you which is so kind. Each shop I pay for on my bank card and we have an arrangement where I give them the receipts and they transfer the money straight into my account to pay me back.

A lady who was no longer able to shop for an elderly friend as her husband was unwell, got in touch. To help her, I arranged for another volunteer, Matt, to assist me as and when needed, with the food shopping. Not long after, I received a call from the elderly lady’s neighbours to say that she had had a fall, so I contacted BASIC Life Charity who assisted by providing a zimmer frame. I dropped the zimmer frame off at the lady’s house but I felt unhappy about leaving her without being checked over. So after numerous phone calls I managed to get an ambulance out to her. I explained to the paramedics that she will need home help when she comes out of hospital, to which they advised this would be set up. With help from a kind neighbour, Rose, we contacted a family member to assist us with the lady’s care. I call Rose every few weeks to get an update and to check how the lady is doing. I also have been in contact with her friend who had previously done her shopping to let her know how the lady is getting on and to assure her she is being looked after.

I’m no superstar and there are many people locally who are doing way more then me, but together we all make a huge difference to the most vulnerable and those in need in Felixstowe. I’m so happy I’ve been able to make a difference to some peoples lives and would like to think if I was every in a situation where I needed help that there would be someone there willing to help me. Felixstowe is a lovely place to live with great community spirit and this unfortunate situation had shown what a great bunch we all are. I’m so proud to live in such a friendly and caring town.



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Annual Felixstowe Event “Suffolk Remembers” Goes Virtual for Suffolk Day 2020



A popular Suffolk remembrance event traditionally held in Felixstowe will go ahead despite the current challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Following government advice, provided at the beginning of May, St Elizabeth Hospice’s memoriam event, Suffolk Remembers will this year be held virtually to ensure everyone remains safe during this time.

The annual event, sponsored by the East of England Co-op Funeral Services, usually sees 5,000 candles displayed along Felixstowe seafront on Suffolk Day as hundreds of people gather to remember their loved ones.

This year however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Suffolk Remembers is scheduled for Sunday 21st June and will now be broadcast as an online video for those who have dedicated a candle to a loved one to view.

Pauline Donkin, Individual Support Manager at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “We’re devastated to have to transform Suffolk Remembers in to a virtual event, but after many discussions over the last few weeks, we feel that this is the safest way to remember our loved ones at this time.”

As with every year, the candles will be displayed across the large Suffolk Remembers letter boards, with the first letter S dedicated to those who have been lost to COVID-19 in Suffolk and relatives are welcome to share the names of their loved one which will then be added to a candle in dedication.

The online broadcast will also include the traditional musical accompaniment of Pop Chorus and the Martlesham Brass Band, as well as readings and poems from nurses at St Elizabeth Hospice.

Pauline added: “It was really important to us to reserve a space for those who have lost loved ones in the pandemic. This event, although run by the hospice, is for everyone and not only those who have used the services of the hospice. It allows everyone in Suffolk a moment to reflect and remember a lost loved one and to know they are not alone.

“Each year, our goal is to light 5,000 candles in memory of those who are no longer with us. These dedications and donations help us to continue looking after our patients in the hospice and the wider community, particularly during this difficult time where a lot of our events have been cancelled and our charity shops are closed which affects our fundraising efforts.”

The video will be published on the hospice’s Facebook and YouTube channels on Sunday 21st June from 2pm.

To support St Elizabeth Hospice or dedicate a candle please call 01473 723600 or visit

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BASIC Life Charity Celebrating 20 Years



Although the charity had been donating to meet local needs as far back as 1997, it was on 24th January 2000 that it became registered formally with the Charity Commission.

So much has happened over the last two decades. The first shop opened next to the former Safeway (now Morrisons) back in 2000 with the idea being that we could offer Christian support to local residents in a practical way and without the need to preach or force our beliefs on anybody.

The idea became a success and over the years we have grown to now having two traditional charity shops (17 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe and 312 High Road, Walton) and a storage and distribution centre.

We have donated financial support to countless individuals over the years and have also provided funding to all doctors surgeries, the schools and many local groups and local charities. We have paid for free breakfasts for the pupils of two local schools for over five years now.

In March 2013 we opened food banks at each of our shops but quickly realised that we weren’t meeting the needs of all people suffering from food insecurity. It became clear that the need had not deepened but had broadened to now include those in work and affected more families. To answer this need we prompted supermarkets to offer their still good to eat, but no longer for sale, items to us. After a considerable amount of negotiating we are now official partners with supermarkets such as Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, Lidl, Morrisons and Aldi. We collect around 500 kilos of food per week and redistribute it to local residents via our ‘Pop-Up’ shops.

We came up with the ‘Pop-Up’ shop model as our way of making sure everybody who needed food would get some without any reference at all to their means. They are open to all. The result has been an astounding reduction in local referral-based food bank use. The Pop-Ups now total four per week across Felixstowe with another held monthly. There are others in Leytonstone, Ipswich and Martlesham.

We are attempting to obtain Government support to enable the model to be adopted nationwide as we see it as the only way back into ‘shopping’ for those who need food support. While food support is only a very small part of our work it is the work which is seen mostly by the public.

At the same time we are still meeting the needs of local people and are operating a very significant online presence with 1500 books listed on Amazon and just under 1000 items continually on sale on Ebay. We also sell items at local auction houses to enable us to pass on the proceeds to local people.

Thank you to all who have supported us over the last twenty years and the volunteers who have been amazing with their dedication and hard work. We are always very pleased to receive donations and our PayPal address is

Many thanks,

Graham Denny – Founder/Administrator

The BASIC Life Charity

Reg. Charity No. 1079263Vat No. 786903579

27 Schneider Close, Felixstowe, IP11 3SS

01394 674810 – – FB: The BASIC Life Charity

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