An appeal has gone out to find volunteers to help with one last push in a bid to beat Covid-19 as the lockdown takes hold and vaccines are rolled out.

The Torbay Community Helpline is again looking for people to help with shopping, befriending, and prescription collections as well as to help marshal people arriving at the vaccination centre.

Vaccinations for extremely vulnerable people, referred by their doctors, have been taking place at the Riviera Centre in Torquay but the operation is being stepped up a gear next Tuesday.

David Gledhill, of Ageing Well Torbay and the Torbay Community Development Trust, said: “We urgently need lots of volunteers to help during the new lockdown and with the ramping up of vaccinations from Tuesday next week.”

Because the vaccines from Pfizer have to be kept in strictly controlled temperature conditions, they will only be administered at the Riviera Centre. They cannot be done in people’s homes.

The helpline has been asked to help with the logistics of what is potentially a considerable operation at the Riviera Centre, which serves all parts of the Bay.

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St John Ambulance staff are also helping administer the vaccinations, but more volunteers are needed to help marshal people in and out as well as provide support services, particularly for those who are nervous.

“The latest lockdown has seen a surge in calls to the helpline for people, particularly those that are shielding, in need of help and we once again need our fantastic volunteers to step up,” said a spokesperson for the helpline.

“We are also aware that help is needed at the Riviera Centre as the scale of vaccinations is ramping up from this week.”

“It is going to be a complex operation, but we know that there are lots of volunteers out there willing to help and so we will get this done.

“We might well need to able to drive those without their own transport to the Riviera Centre and we will need people to help them whilst they are there, particularly chaperoning those that are nervous,” said a helpline spokesperson.

“For now, these vaccines are just for the extremely vulnerable and everyone eligible is being contacted by their doctors, so please do not just turn up,” they added.

If you can help with either vaccinations or with the helpline please contact the Torbay Community Helpline on 01803 446022, from 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday and Saturdays 9.30am to 12.30pm.



Stan Blackburn, 101, receiving his jab at the Harbour Rise care home in Paignton
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Residents at a Paignton care home have become the first in South Devon to receive Covid-19 vaccines in a care home.

And 101-year-old Stan Blackburn was first to get the Pfizer jab – brought in by the Torbay Care Home Visiting Service.

Harbour Rise was recently singled out for praise by the government’s Care Quality Commission for the way it had dealt with the coronavirus, with measures including a special ‘pod’ which allow family members to visit relatives in complete safety.

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