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Devon Communities Together – Coronavirus: Update, advice and resources 11th May 2020

In Mondays Covid-19 bulletin find out about various funding opportunities, learn about the new virtual chats from Devon Highlights and get involved in two surveys from the NCVO and Rural Services Network. Read on for all of this and much more!  

If you are in need of specialist advice and support, then please do call our Covid-19 helpline: 0808 1963390 (Mon – Fri, 9am-5pm) If you would like access to more helpful information, advice and resources, please do take a look at our Covid-19 information page which can be found here

Staying social whilst socially distancing, with Devon Highlights 

Harry and Aggie from Devon Highlights are inviting you to join them for virtual chat and coffee, every Tuesday! 

 If you live in the Torbay and Teignbridge area, you can join Aggie from 2-3pm. If you are living outside of those areas, meet Harry and his group shortly afterwards, from 3.30-4.30pm.  

These virtual groups are perfect for anyone over the age of 55 to meet and connect with new people. As well as this, you can enjoy various activities such as quizes, virtual museum tours and yoga.  

More details and instructions about how to join, can be found in the invitation attached. If you know someone who could benefit from attending these online groups, please do spread the word and let them know!

Find out more about Devon Highlights 

The Rural Services Network –  We aim to give a voice to our rural communities on the national level

The Rural Services Network are concerned that rural communities will suffer significant disadvantages in the coming weeks.

To support their work they have put together a very short survey for rural communities and would like to hear from Local Authorities, Parish Councils, community groups and other organisations that are working together to support their most vulnerable residents during the current national lockdown in relation to COVID-19.

Access Survey Here  

Easing the lockdown: Tell the NCVO how it will affect your organisation

Now that we are starting to see some tentative steps towards the easing of lockdown the NCVO are collecting information to report to the UK government on the support that organisations require. Please do take a moment to complete the form to help ensure support from government reflects need.

Find the Form Here 

Grants and other funding available in Devon 

There are a variety of funding options for new and established groups who are responding to the pandemic. For an up to date overview of funding options, please follow the link below.

More Here 

Swimbridge Coronavirus Support Group

Swimbridge is located 5 miles from Barnstaple and 5 miles from South Molton. There are 311 houses, many of which are located outside the main village over a 4 mile radius.

The week prior to lockdown for the Covid-19 outbreak the Swimbridge Coronavirus Support Group (SCSG) was set up by the Swimbridge Jubilee Hall Committee with the support of the Parish Council. The group began by: 

•Setting up a mobile phone number for the

•Setting up a facebook Swimbridge Coronavirus Support Group page

•Sending a hard copy of our Swimbridge newsletter to EVERY household in our Parish (using the electoral roll for addresses to ensure no one was missed). The newsletter informed the village that there was a support service available which included : picking up essential supplies, picking up medical supplies, transport, learning how to do an online shop, posting mail/picking up a newsletter, a friendly phone call. In addition we asked volunteers to come forward (we now have around 30). This system has so far worked extremely well.

Four lead volunteers with DBS certificates coordinate the support of other volunteers and hold details of those in the community who live alone or who are identified as vulnerable. The volunteers regularly phone those that live on their own or are vulnerable to check they were ok and have a chat.

The village hall foyer and adjacent meeting room remains open from 10am – 5pm every day. This enables our parishioners to drop off surplus non perishable food for the Foodbank and vulnerable people in the community. Books, puzzles, games, DVDs, toys are also left for people to take/donate. The front door and meeting room door is left ajar to minimise risk and clear signs have been put up stating x1 person or x1 household in the building at any one time, social distancing, washing hands, etc. Antibacterial hand wash, spray disinfectant and paper towels are located next to the sink in the meeting room. All other doors in the hall are locked.

Local support is also provided to the community with:

•The village pub offering takeaways x3 times a week.

•Lyncroft Stores in the nearby village of Landkey offer a free delivery service to vulnerable people in Swimbridge.

•The post office is open on Tuesdays between 2pm – 4pm in the Church.

It is a testing time for us all, but as a community we have pulled together. It feels that everyone is looking out for each other.

Further Call for Case Studies!

We are continuing to put together an archive of case studies from town and parish councils and community buildings to capture how you have responded to the challenges faced in the Covid19 pandemic. We would like to share case studies in these bulletins as well as collating them on our Devon Communities Together Coronavirus Information pages.  

The aim is to build a resource of shared good practice. All case studies will be appreciated but if you could provide brief background context about your community and your organisation, a description of your key challenges, and what you have done to overcome these that would be incredibly useful so we can all learn from each other.

We are particularly interested to hear how your town or parish council, community building, or community support group are finding things at this stage of the pandemic and lockdown now that many organisations are getting used to new ways of working, and many newly formed groups have had some time to get used to what they are doing.

Please avoid naming individuals in your case studies.

Your case study (or any questions about this) can be sent to

Enhance Social Enterprise Network Event

Devon Communities Together’s Enhance Social Enterprise Network is holding an event on the 18th May, for social enterprises to join online. Please do share this free-to-attend event amongst all social enterprises in your local area!

Value of Social Impact – 18th May 2020

Do you have inspiring social impact stories to share? Are you interested in engaging with a support network of social enterprises to explore the value of impact stories?

Join us on this day to explore interesting ways to better manage our social impacts and turn them into “golden tickets”, to keep creating change. Use the link below to register and find out more details about this event:

The Heart of the South West Enhance Social Enterprise Programme is receiving funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural & Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.Devon Communities TogetherUnit 73 & 74 Basepoint Business Centre,Yeoford Way,Exeter EX2