Everybody needs good neighbours

HUNDREDS of calls have been made to a helpline set up to match people who need help with those who want to help in the current coronavirus crisis.

Charitable and voluntary organisations have come together to provide a steady stream of non-medical advice and support for people in the Bay who are self-isolating.

In the first week of operation, the Torbay Coronavirus Helpline took more than 200 requests for help and nearly 500 offers of help of everything from prescription collections and shopping, to dog walking and phone befriending.

The helplines – 01803 446022 answered by Torbay Community Development Trust staff from 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week and the Brixham Does Care direct line – 01803 857727 – staffed from 9 am to 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday have been fielding calls in a bid to help self-isolated and vulnerable people across the Bay.

Healthwatch Torbay has continued to stay up to date with all the latest information on their website: www.healthwatchtorbay.org.uk alongside fielding calls from worried individuals and both Age UK Torbay and Citizens Advice Torbay have also been helping with individual’s pleas for help.

The Torbay Help Hub which started life on Facebook and has now become a website in its own right at www.torbayhelphub.com has joined forces with the helpline. The Hub is concentrating on exchanging practical information alongside coordinating offers of help from businesses and keeping up to date with supermarket opening times.

Torbay’s community builders have been contacting known vulnerable people in towns and villages across the Bay and are dealing with very urgent cases on a daily basis.

Volunteers can sign up online at: www.bit.ly/torbayhelpline, and people who want to coordinate their own neighbourhoods can express their interest at:

Simon Sherbersky, TCDT lead officer, said: “The response from the voluntary and charitable sector has been absolutely fantastic.

“Teams across the Bay have mobilised to provide the services, back up and practical help that is needed, when it is needed which is now.

“Our people are going above and beyond to ensure that those that are self-isolating and those that are vulnerable are supported in whatever way we can.

“We have been heartened by the response from the community – already we have around 400 people who want to help their neighbours and phones are still ringing”

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