Coronavirus Information

Coronavirus Information (24)

Friday, 03 April 2020 13:02

Business Support Grants

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Torridge District Council has now sent out letters to every business that is registered with their Business Rates team and is eligible for the government’s Business Support grants. But they are aware that in many cases people can’t access those letters so are keen to help as much as they can. Their goal is to get those grants to businesses as quickly as they can.

How to access the scheme

- for full details see 

- Please follow this link if your business has a rateable value of £15,000 or less and complete the form. Please note you will need your business rate account reference beginning with 26.

- Please follow this link if your business has a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 and complete the form. Please note you will need your business rate account reference beginning with 26.

- For small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR) and rural rate relief (RRR) please follow this link and complete the form. Please note you will need your business rate account reference beginning with 26.

Business support grant queries

Processing the online forms for these is going to be a huge task, especially given the risks of fraud. As such,TDC ask if you have any queries to e-mail them to in the first place rather than calling the Business Rates team directly please. They are working as hard as they can to make sure that messages are replied to as promptly as possible as they know how important both clarity and getting these grants is to both businesses and the people connected to them. However, they will be prioritising queries related to the Business Support grants until they have been processed.

Help and advice

1) For information on grants and relief that your business might be eligible for please have a look at North Devon Plus is also on hand to support you if you are thinking about the need to change your business plan and explore what the future could be for your business.

2) There is also lots of information on the Heart of the South West Growth Hub pages (, including details of their Virtual Careers Fair ( to support people who have been impacted by job losses or furloughing, as well as for businesses who are looking to recruit to cover new needs presented by the situation.

3) There is a lot of practical support for businesses and employees who are getting used to the new reality of working remotely. Cosmic are offering a free helpline to support and BT are offering a series of online workshops to build knowledge and capacity as part of their Skills for Tomorrow programme 

4) For agriculture-specific help Farming Help have a helpline putting you in touch with 4 expert charities

5) The Arts Council have a specific funding stream coming live soon to support those of you in the cultural and creative sector who have been impacted

Need more help?

If your business is in need of additional support or advice then please do feel free to get in touch on The Council don’t have a magic wand, alas, but will do everything they can to either help or signpost you to the expert support you might need.

Take care and stay safe. 

Our Covid-19 support newsletters will regularly provide you with information, guidance and resources during this ongoing situation. 

Here at DCT we have set up a helpline to support Village Halls, Community Buildings and Parish and Town Councils. If you would like to get in contact with us, please phone: 0808 1963390 Alternatively you can access advice from our website. From our dedicated Coronavirus Information webpage, you will find guidance and support about the following subjects:

1.What is Coronavirus?

2.General Guidance

3. Stay at home guidance

4.Advice for Village Halls and Community Buildings

5.Advice for Community Groups

6.Protecting the isolated and vulnerable 

7.Community Messaging System

8.Guidance for Community Transport

9.Churches Meeting Community Needs

10.Cyber Protect Advice from Devon and Cornwall Police

11.Advice from the Charity Commission around Charity Governence

12.Funding & Grants Available 

Please continue to read below, to find updates and information from various organisations, that can help to support you during this time. 

Devon County Council: Advice For Setting Up Local Support Groups  

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, many people have been asking about setting up local groups to support vulnerable residents with shopping, picking up prescriptions, or just keeping in contact. 

There is support available from your local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS). 

•If you are in Exeter, visit the Exeter Community Wellbeing website

•For the rest of Devon find contact details on the Devon Voluntary Action (DeVA) website

If you are setting up a local group, make sure you are aware of the implications of the current legislation regarding data protection and safeguarding vulnerable adults. Although much of the legislation may not apply to you, there are some important principles you must follow around keeping personal data safe and confidential, and ensuring the most vulnerable are protected from harm.

You can find useful information and resources on the Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK website, and information on data protection for community groups from the Resource Centre website.

Advice concerning COVID-19 is developing rapidly, so make sure you are aware of the most current and correct advice before engaging with vulnerable residents.

Register a Community Support Group 

Many communities in Devon are putting together local initiatives to support those in need. If you are involved with creating or running a local support group, please: 

1.Get in touch with your local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) who can support you and are coordinating activity. If you are in Exeter, visit the Exeter Community Wellbeing website and for the rest of Devon find contact details on the Devon Voluntary Action (DeVA) website.

2.Please register some basic details with Devon County Council so that we can help to signpost people appropriately.

Find a Community Support Group 

Many communities in Devon are putting together local initiatives to support those in need. You can find a support group in your area, here. This list is growing fast: to add a local group that is missing, please pass your details to us using this form.

Community Crisis Phone System 

A new phone system has been set up for community groups, to use during Covid-19. The 3CX web client is used to call, chat and video conference and will enable community support groups to publish a single support number which can be manned by several operators and handle several inbound calls at a time. Primarily, this system has been created to support small community groups, during a time where they might recieve a high number of enquiries. 

Created by Grey Matter, this is a simple, resilient, cloud based phone system which can be deployed at minimal cost (£8 per month) to help community groups in a crisis.  

Please find a step by step guide here and a user guide here

Devon Community Foundation Recovery Fund 

Devon Community Foundation has now opened a Covid19 recovery fund to raise funds for local charitable groups that are supporting the most vulnerable people affected by the outbreak of coronavirus. You can apply to the Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund here. Further information about criteria, can be found here.

Action With Communities in Rural England 

Thousands of village halls will be temporarily closing their doors to the communities they have supported; some for over 100 years. For the community there is dismay and uncertainty about when they will be open again and their committees will be taking a hard look at the long-term future of their Hall. 

We have spoken to committees who feel they are in a precarious situation but also to those who have enough reserves to keep them going. 

So, what is ACRE doing?

In the early stages of the crisis we provided guidance to the ACRE Network on the process for Halls considering closure of their Hall

We have been in discussion with the rural team at Defra so that they are fully informed of the issues facing village halls now. Defra are working closely with the Communities Team at the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government. Thank you to those village hall committees who have come forward and provided detail of the likely financial impact should the hall need to stay closed for a long period.

ACRE Board and Senior Management are working alongside other infrastructure bodies to clarify how the proposals for supporting businesses can also support charities.

ACRE is now in discussion with Government for financial support fund for halls at risk.

Meanwhile the National Village Hall Survey is live until Monday 20th April 2020.

Please complete it; tell us all about your Hall as this information will now be so important as evidence of the valuable roles of halls in rural communities. If you have started to complete the Survey now is the time to log back in and complete it! 

National Village Hall Survey is available here: 

Some village hall committees will be preparing to submit their Stage 2 applications for the Village Hall Improvement Grant Fund. The deadline is still the 31st March 2020. If you need support or have problems accessing information due to the current situation then let your ACRE Network member know.

Contact your local ACRE Network Member Martin Rich, Devon Communities Together,, 07984001542 

Click here for current known issues with Torridge District Councils waste or recycling service (can be viewed at the bottom of that page). If you wish to report a missed collection you can do so online here or by calling 01237 428700 option 3.

The majority of service in Torridge has so far not been affected by the Coronavirus crisis apart from the collection of Textiles from Households which we have suspended until further notice due to contamination concerns. Please keep any materials until we return to business as usual. DCC Recycling Centres have also been closed and as a result TDC Bulky items collections have been stopped as well - see below.

In some instances it may also be necessary to swap crews to cover sickness or absence and so some collection rounds may get to certain areas later than they would normally. We would ask our customers to be patient during this period and not to report any suspected missed collections until the following day.

As the Coronavirus situation develops we may need to change our approach and prioritise some service areas such as refuse collection over kerbside recycling if we experience high levels of staff absence or other disruption. We haven't yet reached that stage and our crews are working hard to ensure that the normal levels of service are maintained. Should we need to make any changes to our services we will continue share information on the Torridge District Council website and social media.


In order to keep both staff and the public safe ALL Devon County Council Household Waste Recycling Centres have been closed until further notice: See ... As a result of this ALL Bulky Item collections have been suspended as well. 



•Store personal waste (like used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths securely in rubbish bags.

•Place these bags within a second bag, tie it securely and store it in a separate room from where you are self-isolating.

•Keep the bags there for AT LEAST 72 HOURS before putting them out after 6pm on the night before your usual collection day.

•Recycling and garden waste can be placed in your usual bins.

•Please keep recycling if you can, but please keep your recycling for at least 72 hours after your self isolating period.

Click "Read More" to view details:-

If you have a medical condition which makes you extremely vulnerable to Coronavirus (COVID-19): you can register with the Government to tell them whether or not you need support if you are unable to rely on friends, family or the wider community for support, if this is relevant to you please click link below:-

Monday, 30 March 2020 10:18

Statement from the Mayor - Coronavirus Crisis

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Great Torrington has been in lockdown for one week now and I thought I would give an update to our community.

Firstly, I must encourage everyone to comply with the latest government advice in relation to only leaving your home either to: attend front-line work, buy essential shopping, or a once per day exercise session.  In addition, when anyone must leave their home for any of these reasons, to keep two metres apart from anyone else and continually wash hands for up to 20 seconds as often as you can. I note that footfall has reduced and I would like to thank everyone who has complied by these rules.  If anyone remains in doubt and hasn’t been complying, please do!

Secondly; I would like to pass on a big, “thank you” to the Royal Mail for delivering contact leaflets to every home in the community last Monday. We are very grateful for the part they have played in ensuring a contact number was delivered to everyone, meaning that no-one should be confused as to who to phone, should they need some help. If there is anyone who did not receive this leaflet, please call the Town Council on 01805 626135 and we will ensure you receive one, along with the list of local contacts and shops etc.

The Council’s Task Force has seen help delivered to over 60 people this past week.  Officers are working hard to compile a list of volunteers and then match the volunteers with isolated and vulnerable member living in our community.  The highest need has been in relation to picking up prescriptions.  We are also able to connect clients to volunteers who are happy to give social phone calls, which is a really important service as people continue to isolate from society.  We have also been offering to shop for and deliver essential goods, but we do ask that people endeavour to order goods over the phone and/or on-line and pay at the same time to save the volunteers from needing to handle cash. A list of providers was sent to every home in the community. 

Again, I would like to thank every volunteer who has come forward and selflessly offered their help. I am hearing some lovely stories of relationships already growing and this all goes to promote a closer community longer term.

We have no idea where this new week will take us, but I am confident that as we pull together as a community, we will work through any new challenges we have to face.

Cllr Keeley Allin, 
Mayor of Great Torrington

We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well. We understand this is a worrying time for everyone, especially for those affected by dementia. We want you to know that we’re here for you, and we will help you get the support you need.

If you or someone you care for are worried about Coronavirus and need support and advice, call our Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456.

If you speak Welsh, call our Welsh-speaking support line on 03300 947 400.

Alzheimer's Society are here to support anyone affected by dementia through this difficult time. Find out about the ways we can help you with practical tips and advice, information and support below - including a live Twitter Q&A on Tuesday 31 March.

Please note: We cannot offer personalised medical advice. But we will direct you towards other reliable sources if necessary. 

Dementia and Coronavirus

Advice for everyone  

To prevent the spread of Coronavirus, the government have advised that we must all stay at home. There are only a few exceptions to this, such as if you are a key worker or if you need to get essentials like food and medicine.

Advice for people affected by dementia

We have created advice and practical tips for people living with dementia and those supporting them – either in the same household or from a distance, to help during the Coronavirus pandemic. These include:

•Helping prevent the virus from spreading by washing your hands often with soap and water (or if this isn’t possible, a hand sanitiser). And cleaning things you handle a lot such as remote controls and taps.

•Arranging getting essentials like medicine and food, by speaking to your GP or local pharmacy, using online delivery services, or asking a friend, family member or community volunteer for help.

•Making a plan of what to do if you or the person you care for become unwell, such as leaving the number(s) to call prominently displayed.

•Staying active with gentle exercises and activities like reading, jigsaw puzzles, listening to music, knitting, watching or listening to the TV and radio.

•Keeping connected with family and friends by phone, post, email or Skype. This is a challenging time for everyone, but a phone call can make all the difference.

Where can I get support and advice?

We can answer all your questions about dementia and give you tips if you find it difficult to follow the NHS advice about Coronavirus. 

•Call our Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456.

•Or, if you speak Welsh, call our Welsh-speaking Dementia Connect support line on 03300 947 400.

•Visit our website for the most up to date information and advice.

•Join our online community Talking Point where you can connect with others affected by dementia in a similar situation.

•Use our Dementia Connect online support tool to find dementia information and support that is right for you. 


Live Twitter Questions and Answers

From 9.30am-12.00pm on Tuesday 31 March, we will be live on Twitter to answer your questions and offer advice about coronavirus and dementia. Topics will include:

•How can you help a loved one with dementia to keep washing their hands?

•How do you stay active and exercise while self-isolating?

•What activities might be suitable for someone with dementia at home?

Send your questions to @alzheimerssoc on Twitter, and follow us to get useful tips and advice. 

Friday, 27 March 2020 17:50

Domestic Abuse/COVID-19 campaign

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New domestic campaign launched as cases expected to increase

Partner agencies across Devon and Cornwall are launching a campaign to raise awareness around domestic abuse and have warned that it may increase in the coming weeks due to the impact of Covid-19. However, they want to reassure communities that victims will still have access to vital support services despite the current uncertainty.


The campaign will highlight the fact that whatever type of abuse takes place, be it physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial, the abuser is trying to control the victim and uses abuse and/or violence to achieve that control. It will also tell victims how to access help and support. 

Superintendent Sharon Donald of Devon & Cornwall Police said, “Sadly, as schools close and home working is encouraged, Covid-19 may cause a rise in domestic abuse.  The cycle of violence may intensify with people having to isolate themselves and being unable to socialise in the normal ways.  It is important that victims know how and where to get advice and support and that they know they can report by phone and online.” 

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Alison Hernandez, is responsible for delivering victim care in the area and works closely with the Victim Care Network to ensure that help is on hand to those who need it including to victims of domestic abuse. 

She said: “Unfortunately we have to prepare for a rise in incidents of crimes such as domestic abuse that might go hand in hand with a period of mass isolation. Sadly, some children are safer when they attend school regularly as it’s through them signs can be spotted that something might be wrong and picked up and reported. 

“It is crucial that victims get straight to the services they need as quickly as possible and the launch of live chat means that they will be able to do exactly that. I would urge any victim of abuse to seek help even if you don’t want to report it to the police, there is a range of support available. 

The campaign will be rolled out via digital media and will include mobile phone banner messaging. It aims both to raise awareness that domestic abuse may increase with people self-isolating, and to reassure people that help is available during these unprecedented times.  

Anna MacGregor at Safer Futures, which provides support for victims in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “Covid-19 will have a serious impact on the lives of those living with domestic abuse.  For some people, home is not always a safe place, which might mean that the prospect of physical distancing or self-isolation may be causing some adults and children to feel additionally anxious, at an already difficult time. 

“We are doing everything possible to ensure that specialist support continues to be available to everyone that needs it. Some services are restricted to delivering non-face to face support, due to current health concerns. However, the support is still here for you and your family, refuges are still running, and specialist domestic abuse workers are still working to respond to your needs and help you to stay safe.” 

Chrissy Stower of Splitz, which provides support to victims across Devon, said:  

“We see too often that at times of heightened anxiety a rise in the number of incidents of domestic and sexual violence, just as we are hearing now from reports in China.  

“The restrictions on people’s movement, financial concerns as employment sees a downturn, the temporary closure of schools to some children, the fear of this virus and the uncertainty about the future – these are all factors that increase the risk of domestic abuse within the home.  

“Right now, our message to people across the region, is that there is no excuse for domestic abuse.  There is no part for it in our society.  To victims, I say that while you may feel alone, you are not alone. There is help. There is support. There is safety to be found for you and your children.  We are here to support you.” 


Live Chat is a web-based support service that will be available to victims in Devon and Cornwall 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is anonymous, confidential and free to use. To access it please visit or visit the Victim Care website – Victim Support will still offer telephone support on 0808 031 8178. 

In addition to the web chat facility, other channels for victim support are still available. The Victim Care Unit can be contacted on 01392 475900 from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm at the weekend. Information on the practical and emotional support on offer is available at 

In a non-emergency, you can also report a crime 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 101 webchat or on  the online crime reporting form - both on the force website – There’s also a useful AskNed system that provides online advice on a range of issues and by signing up to Neighbourhood Alert regular updates and information can be received from the OPCC. This can be done via 

Crime can also be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via its website – 

The situation continues to change rapidly so for up to date advice on the Covid-19 virus please visit the Force website – and

Friday, 27 March 2020 12:23

Scam Warnings

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Information recently released by the Metropolitan Police Service 

Please be aware of these scam text messages – see below / scroll down.

The Devon and Cornwall Police Cyber Crime Prevention Officer say there are several variants of these going around at the moment.  

Any unsolicited text messages or emails you receive MUST be treated with the utmost caution. DO NOT click on links included in such messages. 

Also included are 5 attachments from Action Fraud highlighting other scams often related to the present Coronavirus situation. 

Click "Read More" to view examples and fraud guidance:-

Friday, 27 March 2020 12:02

Business Financial Support

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Click "Read More" to view document:-

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Great Torrington Town Council  complies with the new General Data Protection Regulations.  Please use the links to view our General Data Protection Privacy Notices, our Data Protection Policy an Our Data Retention Policy.