A crowdfunder has been launched to help pay for the Torbay Community Coronavirus Helpline which continues to support some of the most vulnerable people in the Bay.
The Helpline on 01803 446022 has taken around 9,000 calls since it was launched on March 16th a week before lockdown and has been instrumental in putting people in need of help in touch with volunteers offering help.
A rapid response team set up to react to the most urgent calls for assistance have so far dealt with more than 2300 cases, mostly from people who had run out of food or were in urgent need of sometimes life-saving medications.
Although the lockdown is now easing for most people some, including those who continue to self-isolate or are shielded, still need essential services such as shopping, prescription collection and telephone befriending.
Calls to the Helpline which are staffed by teams of five between 10 am, Monday to Friday and 9.30 am, and 1.30 pm on Saturdays are still running at around 100 a day and callers have increasingly complex needs.
The Helpline is an unprecedented partnership between some of the most prominent charities in the Bay including Torbay Community Development Trust, Age UK Torbay, Healthwatch Torbay and Citizens Advice Torbay and all have provided staff and volunteers to keep the helplines running.
Pat Harris Chief Executive of Healthwatch Torbay & Engaging Communities Southwest said: “We have provided support to the Torbay Community Helpline since lockdown began, as part of a formidable collaboration of local voluntary and community organisations.
“Although we have continued to deliver our day to day services, albeit from remote locations, we were keen to support the invaluable lifeline the community helpline has provided.
We have already seen a change locally in the number of people continuing to access health and care services. As we transition to a recovery phase we need to ensure local people feel confident in using services that are likely to be delivered very differently than before especially around accessibility.
“We know that many local people are feeling some anxiety about this change and that they will require support to facilitate this. Healthwatch Torbay will continue to provide information and guidance for local people, at the time it is needed and the Torbay Community Helpline provides us with another platform to do this.
“We are proud to be part of this collaboration, and the many future opportunities this will bring to benefit the people of Torbay.”
To donate to help keep the Helpline going please go to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/torbay-helpline
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