Torbay's Coronavirus Helpline

(Last Updated On: May 1, 2020)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - NHS

A helpline to match people who need help with people who want to help in the current coronavirus crisis has been amazingly busy.

Torbay’s ever-active voluntary sector has been exceptionally active in these challenging times and our Coronavirus Helpline has now processed more than 5000 calls.

Torbay Community Development Trust, Healthwatch Torbay, AgeUK, Brixham Does Care, and Citizens Advice Torbay are the key players, while here at Healthwatch Torbay we’ve also continued to keep people up to date with all the latest information via our dedicated coronavirus webpage.

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

In Brixham, for example, by last week Brixham Does Care had shopped more than 50 times, delivered well over 200 prescriptions, received nearly 600 calls for support – and delivered fish and chips to 40 households!

Since that first week, hundreds of self-isolating people have been helped with their shopping and prescription collections. On top of that, a new befriending service is being rolled out to help combat loneliness and isolation, while urgent calls – a family or individual has run out of food, electricity or urgently needed medications – are currently running at a rate of around 30 a day.

Now the Torbay Help Hub, which started life on Facebook and has become a website in its own right at, 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.

The helplines can be reached on on 01803 446022 and 01803 857727 and are being staffed from 8 am to 8 pm.

If you’d like to help, you can sign up online at:, while people who want to coordinate their own neighbourhoods can download information at:


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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!