Posted: 28.04.20 at 10:54 by The Editor
Working alongside communities by enabling grants, providing information and support, the Borough are doing their bit in the COVID-19 effort. Across the Borough, there are many stories of how communities are working together tirelessly to support those in need within their parish. Here are just a few of the many examples of how the Council and their councillors are helping locally.
In Buckland Monachorum there is high demand for food at their local food bank, and their regular delivery was becoming less frequent. The Buckland Monachorum, Burrator and Dartmoor cluster group liaised with the local Co-ops and arranged for two new food donation areas at the Tavistock and Yelverton shops. By having a central donation point, donations can now be collected quickly to keep the food bank stocked up.
In Bere Alston, the Council has given a £250 contribution to a project which provides weekly food parcels for vulnerable families, offering enough food for three meals over three of days.
In Lydford, another grant of £250 is being used to support parishioners through a dedicated phone line, along with a delivery service of essential supplies for those vulnerable at home.
Across Hatherleigh, Highampton, Meeth and Northlew, Borough Council Ward Members, Cllrs Clare Kemp and Patrick Kimber are working with their local Reverend, town council and healthcare providers to keep spirits up.
The group have used a variety of approaches to communicate including by Facebook group which hosts a vibrant book club, leaflet drops to find the most in need and posters to highlight key information on where to get food and medical support; the group are working together to ensure mental health wellbeing is supported.
The more practical needs such as collection and delivery of prescriptions and shopping, dog walking and friendly phone calls for the most vulnerable are being carried out by almost 70 volunteers.
Following a call from the manager of Made-Well (a charity whose residents have a range of learning, physical and mental disabilities) saying that residents were feeling isolated, Cllr Kemp, along with a dedicated Northlew volunteer, have been working together to plan for local children to create a range of paintings and messages and gifts to brighten the day of the residents. The boxed messages and gifts will be carefully organised to ensure they are safe for residents to receive and a pen pal type scheme is also planned.
Cllr Clare Kemp, one of West Devon Borough Council's Ward Members for Hatherleigh, said: "I feel very lucky and honoured to have been in the right place at the right time to give a hand to this wonderful, strong and independent community. And I'm sure I'm not the only person who values the new friends I am making in the most unusual ways - over the phone or by email, or by yelling across a field when my very friendly dogs go over to greet other dogs."
"If Coronavirus can help us network better and value each other more and work out what we really care about, we will be able to face our future in a better way."
Cllr Patrick Kimber, another of West Devon Borough Council's Ward Member for Hatherleigh, added: "It is wonderful to see everyone taking care of each other and what a privilege it is to be part of such a caring community. I'd like to express my thanks to everyone for their bit."
If you are on the Government shielded list and are receiving food parcels through the Council, which you do not want or need, please contact your local food bank or Borough Councillor who will be happy to redistribute these for you.
Across the Borough, food parcels are being handed out by the Council to those on a Government shielded list as the most vulnerable to the virus.
One resident, Anita Bickell, whose brother-in-law received a food parcel, had the following to say: "This is a very welcome food package and I wanted to thank you and to say how much he appreciates the thought that has gone into its preparation. He has shown me what he gets and I have been most impressed. It is ideal for someone like him who lives alone.
"When dissatisfied we, the general public, are quick to complain but seldom are you thanked when something is right."
For more information on the Council's Coronavirus response and to get advice or signposting information, please go to:
www.westdevon.gov.uk/coronavirusIf you do not have access to a computer or a telephone, please contact the Council's helpline on 01822 813683.
If you know a group who would like to apply for a grant of up to £250, please visit: https://westdevon.gov.uk/localactionfund