With a new and potentially prolonged 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 is writing to extremely clinically vulnerable residents giving guidance on what to do during lockdown and asking them to register on the government website even if they have already registered during the November lockdown. This will then allow people to request support for things like priority access to supermarket slots and help from their local council.

In the first instance though, people are being asked to be self sufficient and seek help from family, friends and neighbours as resources are stretched and there is only capacity to support people with no other means of getting help. Unlike the first national lockdown, the government will not be sending out food parcels to the clinically vulnerable.

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 firm Driving Miss Daisy
  • financial support for those in serious hardship
  • friendly ear phonecalls to ease social isolation

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 at my.northdevon.gov.uk/service/Request_for_assistance.

The council is also urging people to ensure they don’t leave requests until the last minute and to 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: "National lockdowns are not easy for anyone but there are people in our communities who it hits particularly hard. If you can get help from your friends and family then please do so, so that we can get help to people who need it the most. "

A new government grant scheme to help local businesses that are affected by the lockdown 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