The Torbay Community Helpline was set up a week before the UK went into lockdown on March 23rd 2020.
Its aim was to provide support and advice for vulnerable people in the towns of Brixham, Paignton and Torquay ensuring no-one went hungry, no-one went without their essential medications and no-one was left alone and isolated.
In the first 75 days of operation, it dealt with more than 8,000 calls - at its peak we received 350 calls in one day - and we were able to respond to requests for help and offers of help promptly.
The Helplines were staffed by teams of people from Torbay Community Development Trust, AgeUK Torbay, Healthwatch Torbay, Brixham Does Care and Citizens Advice Torbay, working alongside Torbay Council and Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust, allowing us to offer practical help as well as expertise across a broad spectrum.
Initially, the lines were available for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, but as demand lessened those hours have been reduced on the main number of 01803 446022 to 10 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday and 9.30 am - 12.30 pm on Saturdays.
Although demand has reduced we are still receiving around 110 calls a day and some of the callers have complex needs requiring more time and specialist responses.
However, we are also aware that as most people come out of lockdown there will be those that will remain isolated because they are being shielded or are reluctant to come out of isolation because of other health issues.
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