North Devon Council is asking individuals, groups and businesses to come forward as it looks to co-ordinate the support effort for vulnerable people across the district.

The council is looking to start working with volunteer groups that have been springing up to help those in need.

It has started gathering information on which groups are available in the area, including One Northern Devon and town groups.

It will use its website and other means to publicise the support available and link up people who need assistance with services which can help.

It is thought some 1.4million people are classed as vulnerable to Covid-19 across the country.

Council chief executive Ken Miles said: “The council has an important role to play in the response to this crisis which is probably focussed in two main areas, support for our businesses and support for our community.”

“There is some fantastic work starting to be undertaken by individuals, groups and businesses in an effort to support our communities.

“I see the council’s role as being to try to co-ordinate some of that effort and to direct people in need to the appropriate group and vice versa.

“A specific role may be given to us to more actively support those of the estimated 1.4 million of the population that fall within the very vulnerable risk groups and that live in our area.

“We are starting to speak with community groups and are starting to gather information together showing which groups are active in the area.

“We are asking for any such groups to come forward and make themselves known to the council.

“This is a period of great worry for everyone but the council stands ready to support our communities as best we can.”

Groups are asked to get in touch with North Devon Council by contacting its corporate and community services team at communities@northdevon.gov.uk or by calling 01271 388253.