Torbay's official volunteers' champion has issued a heartfelt thankyou to army of people who have united like never before to help the Bay get through the worst pandemic in modern history.
“Ask not what Torbay Council should do for you but what you can do for Torbay and the wider community of Torbay and Torbay Council,” joked Nick Bye.
The council-appointed volunteering ‘champion’ had a particular spring in his step as he presented his first annual report on volunteering in the Bay to cabinet.
The report summarises some of the voluntary work of Torbay residents in response to the pandemic.
The Torbay Community Helpline, set up in March 2020 to provide help during the pandemic, received 22,000 calls from 6,200 residents.
Around 1,600 people in the Bay volunteered to join the service and offer help, from picking up shopping to collecting prescriptions or simply chatting with isolated residents on the phone.
Praise is also given to The Torbay Food Alliance, a network of 12 food banks mainly staffed by volunteers, which has served more than half a million meals since the start of the pandemic.
The report highlighted the efforts of volunteers at vaccination centres in Torquay and Brixham, who helped give around 150,000 jabs to 85,000 people.
At one point more than 200 volunteers were on the rota at the Riviera Centre in Torquay and 110 at the Brixham Rugby Club.
Cllr Bye's update concludes: “This report is an opportunity to say a very sincere ‘thank you’ to our amazing army of volunteers who greatly mitigated the impact of the pandemic and provided support through three lockdowns.
He was quick to add: "he pandemic is still with us, so we still need this assistance as a community in the future. The voluntary and community sector pulled together during the pandemic, which leaves the sector and the volunteers well placed to respond again in terms of organisational arrangements, along with all the shared learning from the pandemic experience.”
Almost 13,800 people in Torbay have tested positive for Covid since the start of the pandemic, with 882 being admitted to hospital and 188 losing their lives within 28 days of a positive Covid test.
Since the start of the vaccine rollout, 82 per cent of residents over the age of 12 have had one dose of the vaccine, with 77 per cent receiving both doses.
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