Devon, England, June 9, 2020 -- Volunteers who have been running a coronavirus helpline for the most vulnerable people in society says it will continue after seeing the 'unprecedented kindness' over the last few months.
A Crowdfunder has now been launched so that the helpline set up a week before lockdown started can continue its good work helping hundreds of people in the community every day.
The Torbay Community Coronavirus Helpline has taken around 9,000 calls and there are still about 100 calls for help every day - many from people with highly complex needs. The rapid response team set up to react to the most urgent calls has so far dealt with more than 2,300 cases.
The Helpline on 01803 446022 was launched on March 16 and has mostly been helping people who ran out of food or in urgent need of sometimes life-saving medications by putting them in touch with volunteers.
A spokesman said: "We intend to keep the helpline open for as long as is necessary and we are grateful to our many volunteers who are making that possible, but that is why we are asking for you to help fund it. We have seen unprecedented kindness in the last few months - people volunteering in their hundreds to help their neighbours - and we hope that can continue as we move forward.
"We will continue to provide whatever services are needed to ensure those that remain behind closed doors are not forgotten and we will continue to encourage our fantastic volunteers to remain with them wherever possible.
"All contributions, no matter how small will be appreciated by our fabulous community. Thank you. #TorbayKind"
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Although the lockdown is now easing for many, it is continuing for those who need to self-isolate or are shielded and they sometimes still need essential services such as shopping, prescription collection and telephone befriending.
The Helpline is no longer seven days a week. Now it is staffed by teams of five between 10am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, and on Saturday from 9.30am to 12.30pm.
"Calls are still running at around 100 a day and callers have increasingly complex needs," a spokesman said.
"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.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Wednesday, June 10, 2020
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