A new volunteer support network has been launched to help the most vulnerable residents in North Devon and Torridge during the coronavirus pandemic.

One Northern Devon has teamed up with North Devon Council and Torridge District Council plus the local voluntary sector to offer vital help to those who are self-isolating and don’t have any family or friends nearby who can help them.

The initiative was launched on Monday (April 6) and will offer food shopping, prescription collection or phone calls to combat loneliness through a network of volunteers.

Partnerships across North Devon and Torridge – called One Communities - as well as smaller parishes have formed a network of volunteers on a street by street level.

One Northern Devon chairman, Dr John Womersley said: “It’s been fantastic to see so many support groups spring up for people in communities to help one another.

“The One Northern Devon network builds on this neighbourliness and connects those in need with all of the brilliant schemes and support available in our communities. If there are any volunteers or volunteering groups that are not yet part of the network, we’d love to hear from you.”

North Devon Council leader Councillor David Worden said: “We know there are many people already receiving lots of support in their communities and it’s wonderful to see the efforts people are going to. However, we’re aware there will be people slipping between the cracks and this service is here to help them.”

TDC leader, Councillor Ken James added: “The community spirit we’ve witnessed in recent weeks has been truly uplifting with people volunteering for the NHS, checking and assisting neighbours with their needs such as shopping and supporting more vulnerable people in general.

“Thank you to everyone involved in these endeavours and hopefully by working together we will continue to support people in the community in a way which minimises the disruption and fallout caused by the crisis.”

One Northern Devon Community Developers, employed through NDVS (North Devon Voluntary Services) and TTVS (Torridge Voluntary Services) have been key to co-ordinating local responses, working closely with Town Councils and local councillors.

In North Devon, anyone needing this service can be reached through the NDC new Covid-19 support line, available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 01271 388280.

Alternatively, complete a request form at any time of day: https://www.northdevon.gov.uk/coronavirus/communities-and-voluntary-sector-support .

In Torridge, a dedicated phone line has been set up by Torridge District Council 01237 428888 (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm). Out of hours people can leave a message with their contact details or email covid19@torridge.gov.uk.

Local volunteer groups across North Devon and Torridge wishing to be part of the One Northern Devon network can contact gail@ndvs.org.uk.