Community Coronavirus helpline set up for Torbay

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(Last Updated On: March 17, 2020)

Neighbours are being encouraged to look out for each other as the coronavirus crisis deepens across the Bay.

With more cases being reported daily, community leaders are concerned that self- isolators need support with day-to-day tasks such as shopping, prescription collections and dog walking.

Staff at Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT), Ageing Well Torbay (AWT) and Brixham Does Care are working with voluntary groups across the Bay and have set up an emergency phone line for people in need of help because of illness or isolation and also for those that are prepared to offer help.

TCDT and Ageing Well are also on call to provide advice and guidance on the best ways to help and support people that are affected in partnership with the statutory services to help as demand increases.

Callers to the helpline who are offering support will be asked in what way they can help and will then be asked to provide a reference so that some necessary checks can be carried out. It is then hoped to be able to help put helpers in touch with those needing help for the duration.

Ageing Well  tells us it is already aware through their community builders that some people are self-isolating for fear of contracting the virus, particularly those that already have an underlying condition that would be exacerbated.

Some of them may not even have had the chance to tell their friends and neighbours what they were planning and may be in need of deliveries of top-up supplies.

Not everyone either has the will or the ability to stockpile – they might not be able to afford a big shop and even if they could, would never be able to carry the heavy bags home and may now have very limited supplies.

In Torbay nearly half the population is over the age of 50 with one in four over the age of 65, making many local people across the Bay more vulnerable than the average across the UK.

The phone line, which will be staffed 24/7, covers Torquay and Paignton. The number is 01803 446022. Brixham Does Care can be contacted directly on 01803 857727 (Mon-Fri, 9am-4:30pm).

If you’d like to share the Ageing Well poster for the helpline, it is available to download from the following link:


Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!