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Community advice and support

Last Updated 1:58pm, 29 July 2020


Introduction

Information about coronavirus is available in different formats and languages, including easy read, BSL and for people who are not online.

Find a community support group

Many communities in Devon are putting together local initiatives to support those in need.

You can view a map and full list of the community support groups that we are aware of on the Communities pages.

This list is growing quickly, so do check again if there is no group showing in your area.

To add a local group that is missing, please pass your details to us using this form. We would also advise getting in touch with your local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) who can support you and are coordinating activity. If you are in Exeter, visit the Exeter Community Wellbeing website and for the rest of Devon find contact details on the Devon Voluntary Action (DeVA) website.

 

Community and voluntary organisations

Your local councils are committed to working together to help and support local people to get through this outbreak.

We are committed to doing whatever is needed to help people directly and to support our communities to find ways to respond quickly.

We will work with town and parish councils, voluntary and community groups, and local businesses to help us build this response.

There are many great examples of people coming together to look out for each other already emerging. We will look to nurture this and do all we can to make sure there is a focus on getting real help and support to all those that are likely to need it most.

Together #WeAreDevon

Advice for setting up local support groups

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, many people have been asking about setting up local groups to support vulnerable residents with shopping, picking up prescriptions, or just keeping in contact.

There is support available from your local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS).

If you are setting up a local group, make sure you are aware of the implications of the current legislation regarding data protection and safeguarding vulnerable adults. Although much of the legislation may not apply to you, there are some important principles you must follow around keeping personal data safe and confidential, and ensuring the most vulnerable are protected from harm.

You can find useful information and resources on the Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK website, and information on data protection for community groups from the Resource Centre website.

 Advice concerning COVID-19 is developing rapidly, so make sure you are aware of the most current and correct advice before engaging with vulnerable residents.

Register a community support group

Many communities in Devon are putting together local initiatives to support those in need. If you are involved with creating or running a local support group, please:

  1. Get in touch with your local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) who can support you and are coordinating activity. If you are in Exeter, visit the Exeter Community Wellbeing website and for the rest of Devon find contact details on the Devon Voluntary Action (DeVA) website
  2. Please register some basic details with Devon County Council so that we can help to signpost people appropriately

Library services

Read the latest information about the phased reopening of libraries in Devon.

Stay connected with other local authorities

Our other local government colleagues in Devon also have dedicated webpages and produce regular email updates about their services during this period that you can receive straight to your computers, tablets and mobiles. We’ve listed them for you here:

East Devon District Council

Exeter City Council

Mid Devon District Council

North Devon Council

Plymouth City Council

South Hams District Council

Teignbridge District Council

Torbay Council

Torridge District Council

West Devon Borough Council

 

Public and community events

As part of the social distancing measures announced by the Prime Minister on 16 March, everyone is advised to avoid large gatherings and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars and clubs.

The advice says that everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is pragmatic.  However it is especially important that you to follow the above measures as much as you can and significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, if you:

  • are over 70
  • have an underlying health condition
  • are pregnant

This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.

Warning about scams

Fraudsters are increasingly targeting the public and organisations with emails, texts, ‘phone calls and WhatsApp messages offering advice and treatment for the coronavirus, as well as setting up fake websites selling products and offering ‘cures’. Scammers have also been setting up bogus websites asking for donations for victims or promoting awareness and prevention tips. Cold callers have been contacting organisations suggesting they must have certain measures in place by a certain deadline.

To help members of the public protect themselves from becoming a victim of fraud, Cifas, The UK’s Fraud Prevention Service is advising:

  • Be sceptical if you receive an email, text or WhatsApp message about the Coronavirus, and never click on any attachments or links
  • Never provide personal data such as your full name, address and date of birth – scammers can use this information to steal your identity
  • Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into donating money, and never make donations by cash or gift card, or send money through transfer agents such as Western Union or Moneygram
  • If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, then speak to your bank immediately and report any fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

Further information on dealing with scams and fraud is available from Trading Standards and Citizens Advice.

COVID-19 Prompt Action Fund

Devon County Council has launched the COVID-19 Prompt Action Fund to provide flexible resources to organisations working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the social and economic consequences of this outbreak. Find out how to apply for the COVID-19 Prompt Action Fund.

Council Tax relief for vulnerable households

A £500 million Hardship Fund will provide council tax relief to vulnerable people and households to help those affected most by coronavirus.

Coronavirus Hardship Relief Project - free meals

Exeter Communities Together CIC is running a Coronavirus Hardship Relief Project which involves giving free meals to those facing a tough time, as well as making social guidelines in different languages more accessible.

From this week (6 April 2020), they will be distributing frozen meals in appropriate portion sizes, mainly for those that are elderly, vulnerable, a key worker or otherwise struggling financially.

More details can be found on the Exeter Communities Together website.


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