On Monday calls to 01803 446022 and 01803 857727 were coming at the rate of more than 50 an hour as the lockdown began to bite.
Teams coordinated by the Torbay Community Development Trust have been out collecting prescriptions and shopping for essentials as well as staffing the phones and befriending lonely, scared and isolated people across the Bay.
Tracey Cabache, Community Development Manager for TCDT has been coordinating the community builders who are still active in Brixham, Torquay and Paignton said: “The pressure is mounting as more people run out of food, meds and money. We are doing what we can as quickly as we can, but it is a huge task.
“I am so proud of the work that is being done by the charity and voluntary sector across the Bay. Our teams have stepped up and are leading the non-medical response.”
The helplines which are also staffed by Age UK, Brixham Does Care, CAB Torbay and Healthwatch Torbay are also putting volunteers in touch with people nearby who need help urgently.
So far, there have been nearly 1,000 requests for help and around 750 people volunteering with many more callers in need of advice or simply a kind word.
Information about food shopping and food deliveries along with details about foodbanks can now be found on the www.torbayhelphub.com which is being expanded to include things to do during lockdown.
If the phone lines are busy people can also go online to www.bit.ly/torbayhelpline to sign up.
A new campaign is also being launched this week to get more streets and neighbourhoods to organise themselves to support each other and people can sign up at: www.bit.ly/torbaymicrovol.