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Community advice and support

Last Updated 9:46am, 4 December 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 have put together local initiatives to support those in need during the pandemic.

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

To add a local group that is missing, please create a listing on Pinpoint.

You can also get in touch with your local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) who have been coordinating activity around community groups.

Setting up or running a community support group

If you are involved with running a local support group, or are interested in setting one support is available from your local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS).

If you are setting up a new 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 continues to evolve, so please make sure you are aware of the most current and correct advice before engaging with vulnerable residents.

We would also appreciate if you could create a listing on Pinpoint if you don’t already have one, for your group, so that we can help to signpost people appropriately

Ensuring the safety of volunteers

Information on how to help others safely is also available on our website and on GOV.UK – Coronavirus:How to help safely

Supporting community and voluntary organisations

Your local councils remain committed to working together to help and support local people to get through this pandemic.

We are committed to doing whatever is needed to help people directly and to continue to support our communities to find ways to provide local support. There have been many great examples of people coming together to look out for each other, and we’ve been working with town and parish councils, voluntary and community groups, and local businesses to help with this.

Keep an eye on our Grants and funding support page for details of any financial assistance that may be available to community groups or charities.

Together #WeAreDevon

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

 

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.

Public and community events and buildings

It is important to follow the latest government advice on social distancing, which includes rules around events and gatherings.

If you are involved in managing a community facility, for example a village hall, the government have published advice on the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities.

Warning about scams

Fraudsters are increasingly targeting the public and organisations with emails, texts, phone calls and WhatsApp messages offering advice and treatment for COVID-19, 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.


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