We are in the early days of a very serious epidemic of a virus that is more infectious than flu and several times as dangerous. Things have been changing very rapidly over the last weeks and days – we are seeing government advice changing on an almost daily basis, local school closures, work being lost and events and services closing their doors.
Much misinformation about the disease, some of it dangerous, is being spread on social media. It’s really important to get up-to-date information if you can, for instance from the NHS and Public Health England and not rely on unchecked sources…
It has become clear that limiting social contact is our best chance of slowing down the spread of this disease and therefore giving the best chance of easing it’s effects so it doesn’t completely overwhelm the resources of the NHS and other services. There are already many people self-isolating because they feel at risk or because they are following government advice to do so if they or someone in the family has a temperature or a new cough, or because they have been in contact with infected people.
All this means there will be a massive need for volunteers to support isolated people, helping to deliver supplies and medicines and just staying in contact. There will also be a big demand on the food banks and for other help as people are increasingly not able to go out to work.
There has not been very much clear guidance yet about how to co-ordinate this support in the community, so Buckfastleigh Town Council has been drawing up plans in co-ordination with Ashburton, other local Town Councils, Ashburton/Buckfastleigh Community Care, Be Buckfastleigh and St Lukes Church.
We are building a team of volunteers to support people in and around Buckfastleigh, to deliver leaflets, man the food bank and to help co-ordinate all this.
If you are able to offer your help, you can complete a form here.
We are particularly in need of people who have current DBS checks and useful skills, but anyone can help, even if it is just by offering to ring someone who is on their own and check that they are OK.
If you are in need of support at home, please phone the Helplien on:
01364 255 819
or email Judith Hart (Buckfastleigh Town Clerk): firstname.lastname@example.org
(the old helpline numbers are being discontinued)
If you know someone who might need help, please pass this information on.
The Town Council
We came to the decision that since several councillors are not able to attend council meetings because of of risk of infection and because of the risk of spreading disease unknowingly by social contact, that we would suspend council meetings for the foreseeable future. We will be dropping all non-essential business for the time being and devote all our staff and councillor time to dealing with this current crisis.
All Town Council and Town Hall staff will be redeployed to work from home to minimise their risk of catching or spreading the disease and they will be redeployed wherever possible in supporting the volunteer teams. This will pose some technical challenges so please bear with us.
The Town Hall is now closed for the duration – We can no longer promise a safe environment for either our users and staff.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused and of course sympathise with our users who will be losing income due to cancelled classes etc. However bookings are down and attendance is rapidly dropping.
This is likely to be a very difficult time ahead but I know we have a great community here – if we all look out for each other and take care of each other, we can make it easier and safer for everyone.
Chair, Buckfastleigh Town Council