The Purfleet Trust’s Michelle Hepburn and Paula Hall with the plaque, with guests, clients and staff including trust chairman Ray Johnson. Pictures: Michael Fysh

West Norfolk charity which supports the homeless, the Purfleet Trust has been awarded a special plaque in recognition of its work during the pandemic.

And this week the charity has thanked Your Local Paper readers for their “overwhelming response” to an appeal for furniture and household items for its Purfleet Pathways project.

The Lord Lieutenant for Norfolk, the Lady Dannat, commissioned plaques to recognise the community’s response to COVID-19.

  Peter Wilson MBE, vice- Lord Lieutenant, and David Goddard, one of the deputy Lord Lieutenants, visited the charity’s base in Austin Fields, King’s Lynn, to hand over the plaque which will be displayed in the reception area.

Paula Hall, Purfleet Trust chief executive, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be presented with this plaque.

“We had some lovely feedback during the ceremony from our clients who were present and one made a speech which captured what everyone was saying.”

The trust was praised for helping homeless and vulnerable people, including enabling them to adhere to restrictions during the various lockdowns and ensuring they were safe and well supported.

The trust was instructed to close its health and wellbeing centre during lockdown and instead, operated out of the Travel Lodge in Lynn, with staff working there and 35 clients being housed in rooms.

Paula Hall with Peter Wilson, left, and David Goddard.

During this time the health and wellbeing centre was converted into a distribution hub and more than 125 other people needing support were also helped, with the trust delivering 25,000 meals and 7,500 care packages, including items such as toiletries, to vulnerable people.

“The feedback we got from our clients was that without our support they would have struggled to comply with the lockdown restrictions,” added Mrs Hall.

The trust was loaned vans throughout lockdown by two West Norfolk businesses, with events management company Rogue Production Services and CTS Security both providing vehicles for the charity to use.

Staff also provided support during lockdown by carrying out tasks for clients, such as food and essentials shopping for those who were not able to.

Your Local Paper readers responded to an appeal in the paper in February for items for its Pathways House2Home project.

The project helps furnish accommodation for those who have experienced homelessness and are moving into their own premises. 

Kevan Crane, manager of Purfleet Pathways, said the response was “overwhelming”.

“Our warehouse became full to overflowing by March with furniture, kitchen items, crockery and all thing needed for setting up a home.

“I want to say a big thank you to all those who have donated and supported our work. Without your support we couldn’t provide this service.

“People also responded by offering their time to volunteer at our warehouse. This is a community project and it is so good to welcome people from our community as they get involved.”

Some of the items donated to Purfleet Pathways.

Volunteers are needed for sorting, packing, reception duty, upcycling and mentoring trainees in carpentry and basic repair work.

You can find out more about volunteering at Purfleet Pathways by calling 01553  871357.

The project has an open day and yard sale on Thursday from 2pm to 4pm at Pathways Warehouse 56/57 Bergen Way in North Lynn.

Items will be on sale for a donation towards the project and you can also find out more about volunteering and the project.