A few weeks ago, Buckfastleigh Town Council could see the coming need for support for people in our community affected by the COVID19 Coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact, so we gave our backing to the volunteer effort to provide this.
The Town Council’s members & staff have joined with St Luke’s church, Be Buckfastleigh, the Food Bank, Buckfastleigh Community Care, Buckfastleigh Medical Centre and other local groups and individuals to work together as an organised team to respond to the emergency – the Buckfastleigh COVID19 Emergency Response Team.
The response to our call for volunteers has been fantastic and we have had more than 180 people sign up so far (some of whom we haven’t got round to speaking to yet, so don’t worry if you haven’t heard from us).
This volunteer team has dealt with nearly 200 callers and they are helping with deliveries, organising the Food Bank, taking helpline calls, ringing residents to check they are OK and helping people who are in need throughout Buckfastleigh and Dean Prior.
It has been fantastic to see the level of community, neighbourly support that has sprung up in response to this crisis and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has put so much of their time, energy and love into making sure that no-one is left out in this amazing community we live in.
There is now a new phone helpline in place for residents to use if they need support – the ones published before will still work but we would encourage you to use this new, single landline number which will put you through to our group of experienced volunteers who are staffing the phones from their homes and can assist you. Please call if you are self isolating and need help with food or medications or are struggling for any reason in this extraordinary situation.
The Helpline number for Buckfastleigh is 01364 255 819
…or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
We have worked in partnership with Ashburton who are providing a similar service – if you are in Ashburton the helpline number is 01364 255 919
How you can help…
If you want to help out, you can volunteer using our form which you can find here: bit.ly/buck-volunteers
Regardless of whether you can volunteer or not – you can help stop the spread of this deadly disease….
We are looking at unprecedented demand on the NHS and social care over the next few weeks as the virus starts to reach its peak – one that they are not sufficiently equipped to deal with.
If we can slow down the spread of this disease, and give them a chance, more people will survive.
It’s as simple as that. If you want to keep your loved ones safe, keep away from them and stay indoors wherever possible. Let those doing essential work who have to go out have some space.
Act like you have the virus – remember possibly 30% or more that are infected don’t show symptoms so won’t even know and it takes on average 5 days to show symptoms if you do catch it – you could be spreading the disease without knowing!
…So make sure you wash your hands before you touch anything that might be touched by anyone else.
The same goes for everyone else around you – act like they have the virus – so wash your hands after touching anything that may have been touched by anyone.
Keep from going out whenever you can – Government advise people to stay indoors and the police have asked people not to use their vehicles except for essential journeys because unnecessary travel risks spreading the disease. If you do have to make an essential journey, drive carefully, because the emergency services cannot cope with road traffic accidents and breakdowns during this time. Police are stopping cars and can issue fines. If you have to go out on foot, make sure you keep that 2m/6’/cars-length distance between you and anyone else outside your household that you have to come into contact with. You can still smile at them though!
Let’s work together to keep everyone safe.
Cllr. Andy Stokes
Mayor & Chair Buckfastleigh Town Council