We don't need to tell you that the Country is currently in the middle of a massive public health and economic crisis, the like of which has not been seen in peacetime in modern times.

portrait style photographs of Cllr Judy Pearce, Leader of South Hams District Council; and Cllr Neil Jory, Leader of West Devon Borough Council

We both want to assure you that South Hams District Council  and West Devon Borough Council are doing everything they can to help you, your family, your friends and your businesses. There is no doubt that the current crisis will have a profound effect on all of us, and that if we are to come through it in the best shape possible we must work together, support our communities and look out for each other.

The Prime Minister has made it quite clear that he is expecting local government to work closely with communities nationwide to beat this disease.  We have reorganised many teams at the councils so that we can put your needs and concerns first in everything we do, whilst keeping as many of the everyday services going as we can, which, at the moment, is all of them.  We are coordinating closely with the County Council, the NHS, the Government and other partner agencies to build resilience.

We know there are many high-risk vulnerable people in our communities. Our main role is going to be to harness community effort and volunteers as part of a nationally integrated plan to ensure that they are cared for, looked after and protected.  This plan will be directed at Devon County Council level, co-ordinated by the Red Cross.  Please see the volunteering details below this message.

We shall be working with local businesses to deliver the help and assistance that was promised by the Chancellor in the Budget last week and subsequently.  There is ample evidence that the local economy is in a precarious state.  Help and assistance has been promised and the details are currently being worked out by Government departments.  We will get information about how to access that help to you as soon as it is available and will support businesses who need to apply for grants and loans.  Details will be on both Councils' websites.

We are also acutely aware that there will be difficulties ahead for employees, the self-employed and many workers who are on zero hours contracts.  As soon as there are details of the help that will be available we will ensure that information is also published on our website.  We, and our partner agencies, will do whatever we can to support individuals in need during this difficult time in whatever way we can. 

You can find below some of the things the Council, or our partners, have set up to help you:

Business help or individual help with loss of income:  Please go to the Coronavirus page on our websites. 

Specific information about the Coronavirus outbreak, including Government financial help can also be found on the above links.

Volunteering:  We are asking existing, or forming, local groups of volunteers to register with us so that we can get information and assistance to them.  

To register contact: CommunityCoordination.Covid19@swdevon.gov.uk 

Information will be continuously updated as details come down from Central Government.

Public Health England resources can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england 

GOV.UK updates can be found her: www.gov.uk/coronavirus