With a national lockdown now in place, North Devon Council wants to make sure that its most vulnerable customers know where to come for help.

The government and county council are writing to extremely clinically vulnerable residents giving guidance on what to do during lockdown and asking them to register on the government website so they can request support from their local council.

Working alongside local community support organisation One Northern Devon and town and parish councils, NDC is helping to co-ordinate a range of services for those most in need. This includes:

  • helping people to register on the government website
  • help with grocery orders and deliveries
  • collection and delivery of medication
  • transport to medical and hospital appointments using local taxi form Driving Miss Daisy
  • financial support for those in serious hardship
  • friendly ear phonecalls to ease social isolation

Unlike last time, the government will not be sending out food parcels to the clinically vulnerable as the emphasis this time is on self-sufficiency.

To help people access these services, there is a dedicated phoneline and webform and the council is urging people to ensure that their vulnerable and elderly friends and relatives are aware how to contact the team. The number to call is 01271 388280 and the online form is on the council's website.

Even if the council can't help directly, it will do all it can to point people to the right agency or organisation. Before accessing this support though, residents are urged to turn to families and friends for this support in the first instance as the support relies heavily on a very over-stretched pool of volunteers.

The council is also urging people to ensure they don’t leave requests until the last minute and give them at least two working days’ notice because the service relies on volunteers and so cannot react any more quickly than that.

The support service is available Monday-Friday during normal working hours.

Leader of North Devon Council Cllr David Worden says:"It’s so important that we get support to our most vulnerable at this difficult time and we are so grateful to our partners at One Northern Devon and our local town and parishes who are helping to ensure we reach everyone. If people can be supported by friends and family first and foremost, this will mean our resources can be directed towards the people that most need our help."

A government grant scheme to help local businesses that are affected the restrictions will also soon be available.

More information on the help and support available is at www.northdevon.gov.uk/coronavirus/communities-and-voluntary-sector-support