A campaign of kindness arrived in Suffolk this week delivering surprises including ‘friendship benches′, a theatre trip, afternoon tea and more to people who help make the community special.

Essex & Suffolk Water′s ‘Make my day′ initiative aims to celebrate the company′s customers and people, and employees have been out and about this week delivering surprises and showing their love for the people they serve.


As part of the campaign, which marks National Customer Service Week, the team worked with partners at Freedom Group to donate two ‘friendship benches′ to Red Oak Primary School, in Lowestoft, after it was nominated for the way its staff and pupils support mental health activities.


Pupils have raised more than £3,000 to promote positive mental health, and have even set up an ‘Mental Health Ambassador pupils′ scheme alongside their ‘Anti-bullying Ambassador Pupils′.


The benches will be installed in the school grounds, giving pupils somewhere to sit when they are feeling low. Other pupils can then see that they might need a bit of support.


Headteacher Heather Madsen said: "We are delighted to be nominated by Mrs Joel, one of our parents, for such a wonderful gift that will benefit each and every child at Red Oak Primary School. Academic success is highly linked to positive mental and physical health and for a child it is key they feel happy. Playtimes can be very daunting for many children who are still developing skills of learning to join other children for a game.


"These benches can be used to help our children show they need care, support or friendship from someone else and our amazing Anti-Bullying Ambassadors can monitor these children so we can help to nurture needs quicker. A huge thank you to everyone involved, you have made many people′s day today."


People in the community who were also surprised included:

• A Lowestoft woman who performed CPR to save the life of her own mother, who had suffered a severe heart attack. She was surprised at work with London theatre vouchers.

• A kind motorist who supported a road traffic accident victim, keeping in contact with her family and colleagues while she was being cut out of her car.

• Yvonne Scott and Martin Freeman-Wooding, who support a range of people through their work at Lowestoft MEAM (Making Every Adult Matter).

• Also, leaders at 1st Carlton Colville Air Scout Group were surprised with a new printer, to help them run the troops.


‘Make my day′ is aimed at showing appreciation and love for people and who contribute to making the communities of Essex and Suffolk special, whether it is through their everyday kindness or by having done something special.


Earlier this year, Essex & Suffolk Water asked its customers to nominate people or organisations that they felt deserved a treat and hundreds of suggestions came in. A panel of judges then tackled the tough task of deciding who the lucky recipients should be. A vote followed for Essex & Suffolk Water employees to determine further recipients of ‘People′s Choice′ surprises and Lowestoft MEAM was selected in this way.


Claire Sharp, Customer Director at Essex & Suffolk Water, said: "We′ve had a fantastic week in Suffolk, celebrating our customers and saying thank you to some of the people and organisations that make this such a wonderful place to live and work.


"Whenever we ask for nominations for Make my day, we hear stories that are heart-warming, tales that touch the soul, heroism and community spirit, and it makes us proud. Marking Customer Service Week like this really is our way of recognising those people and giving a little something back in appreciation."