The Charity and voluntary sector in Torbay reacted with disappointment at the Chancellor’s funding package for charities in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis.
A group of charities and voluntary sector organisations have led the response to COVID-19 in the Bay and have been praised by the statutory authorities and local politicians for their work.
The helplines set up for those who need help as well as those offering support have already received 3500 calls and more than 800 cases regarded urgent – families without food or life-saving medications have been dealt with.
But the Chancellor yesterday only announced a package of help worth £750 million compared to the £330 billion pledged to businesses affected by the pandemic – less than 1%
Simon Sherbersky lead officer of Torbay Community Development Trust said: “We are being praised for getting out there with the help that is needed, which no-one else appeared able to do quickly enough and then our sector is offered this amount of money. We will undoubtedly need more.”
Teams from TCDT, Healthwatch Torbay and Age UK Torbay have been working round the clock to ensure that the population have what they need through this crisis with offers of shopping, prescriptions collection and telephone befriending.
Calls have been flooding into a virtual call centre set up by Torbay Community Development Trust and Brixham Does (BDC) from people needing help with their shopping, collecting prescriptions or simply for non-medical advice.
Telephone lines were extended from five to six as the call load exceeded 60 per hour and are now staffed by a minimum of six people 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Each call for help is graded as it comes in as immediate(black), within 24-48 hours (red), within seven days (amber) and over a week (green).
The colour coding allows, staff from several groups, including TCDT, AgeUk Torbay, Healthwatch Torbay alongside volunteers to target the most urgent – those who have run out of food or in need of life-saving medications.
So far the teams of volunteers and community builders have responded to around 800 requests for help and nearly 600 people have offered help and a matching service is working behind the scenes to put the most suitable candidates together.
In Brixham, more than 600 people have been supported either physically or on the phone and around 50 volunteers have so far been identified.
A consortium of fourteen organisations has also come together to the run the food banks across the Bay and coordinate sourcing food and cooked meals.
Information about food availability, who is delivering and opening hours along with details of the food banks has also been posted on the www.torbayhelphub.com website.
Additionally, neighbours are being urged to self organise to help each other and to help TCDT have a form online at www.bit.ly/torbaymicrovol where 30 people have already registered.
To ask for help or to offer help you can ring 01803 446022 or 01803 857727 (BDC) between 8 am and 8 pm seven days a week or go online to: www.bit.ly/torbayhelpline
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