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 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.
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: www.bit.ly/helpline, while people who want to coordinate their own neighbourhoods can download information at: www.bit.ly/torbaymicrovol
Bob Jope HEALTHWATCH TORBAY
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