The appeal has gone out for furloughed workers or those with time to spare to join the volunteers teams helping to support vulnerable people in northern Devon during the coronavirus pandemic.

One Northern Devon, which is helping to co-ordinate the response in North Devon and Torridge, is keen to hear from businesses or their staff about ways they might help.

It has set up simple and single contact points so people and business know the support that is needed in their own community.

There are now hundreds of additional volunteers working in their communities to support vulnerable people.

They are needed to collect and deliver prescriptions and shopping and also to check in and chat with people who are self-isolating or have been told to shield at home to ensure they are not getting lonely.

People with organisation skills who could join their local One Community Team in co-ordinating the local efforts are also being sought.

Anyone with skills in social media and communication, business planning, project management, safeguarding and customer service skills are particularly welcome, but all skills and experience are welcomed.

Dr John Womersley, chairman One Northern Devon, said: “During this difficult time, many employees are furloughed and may have time on their hands.

“Studies have shown that volunteering can improve people’s social connections and is positively associated with good mental health and wellbeing – it’s also a great opportunity to help your community.

“We recognise that not all businesses are in a position to offer support at this time and that many are in exceptionally difficult circumstances and worried about their future.”

Health and wellbeing resources are available at https://onenortherndevon.co.uk/ to help businesses look after their staff during this period of uncertainty.

There are also links to organisations that offer free financial advice to employees alongside the wide range of support available from local authorities and the support local business organisations such as North Devon Plus can offer.

Anyone wishing to register their support to help the fight against the pandemic and volunteer their time can go to https://onenortherndevon.co.uk/volunteer/ or call 01271 337799.