1. Government Advice

Please continue to comply with and support the UK’s response by following Public Health England’s advice and information on the Gov and NHS websites: www.gov.uk and www.nhs.uk.

2. Free Help  Combe Martin  (FHCM) – Community help if staying at home

There are so many people to thank, in particular, recognition is due to Clair Rice for the early identification and co-ordination of volunteers and to the many volunteers who have stepped up to deliver medicines and food shopping. This demonstrates the very best supportive and caring side of our community.

All callers to the helpline are reminded that this help is specifically provided to protect the vulnerable and high risk individuals and those that have to self -isolate. If you request a prescription you have to be in to receive it and that could be anytime during the day. Please respect that the volunteers are exposing themselves to an increased risk in supporting you.

  • Consider asking friends, family and neighbours for prescriptions and food collection, and use the delivery services offered by local shops.
  •  A number of village shops and service providers have also raised their game to provide delivery and maintain a service to the community.

As the duration of the event looks to continue, the need for conversation and social interaction (be it remote) becomes more important.

  • Free Help Combe Martin (FHCM) have identified a number of volunteers, happy to engage in a telephone conversation or offer online support.
  • Other parishioners and village groups are offering help with dog walking, refuse bins and other urgent non-medical health care issues.
  • Collections of Pension from the Post Office and top-up cards for electricity and gas meters are a potential concern, speak to the call line to discuss your requirement. 

The Parish Council continues to support these initiatives and is looking at ways to improve delivery and protection to the volunteers and users. 

3. Helpline: How to ask for (non-medical) help

The Parish Council Office telephone number 01271 883403 will be available from 10:00 to 17:00hrs every day (including Saturday and Sunday).

The office is shut but the Council e-mail info@combemartin-pc.gov.uk is available; however, there may be a delay in reading the messages.

4. Requests for help

 COVID -19 requests to the Parish Council will be passed to Free Help Combe Martin for action. It is important to recognise when using this service that this is a ‘neighbour to neighbour’ relationship and the normal requirements of data protection and DBS vetting cannot apply. In using this service you understand and agree to your information being shared with volunteers.  The Council will note any concerns raised and look for an alternative means of support.

5. Business Support

Bryan Cath, Chairman of Combe Martin Business Association (website: www.visitcombemartin.com) continues to trawl the Govt helplines for relevant information and help for businesses.

6. Transport for Key Workers

Filers Travel are operating a reduced bus service into the village, details available on 01271 863819.

As things develop alternative arrangements may be required:

Due to the reduction of bus services across the county, Devon County Council are trialling an on-demand subsidised taxi service for Devon residents for key workers accessing employment only.

This service is intended to replace those journeys which were previously made by bus – a subsidised flat fare will be charged.

Requests can only be made by email and should be sent to devonbus@devon.gov.uk

Please include the following information in your email: NAME, ADDRESS, KEY WORKER STATUS, EMPLOYER / PAYROLL REF. JOURNEY REQUIREMENTS (pick up/drop off) We will aim to respond to all requests as soon as possible during normal office hours  – journeys should be booked 48 hours in advance of travel.”

7. Parish Council Issues

The Parish Council has had to suspend all meetings including the Annual Parish meeting. There is a national demand from Councils and other authorities for the suspension of the legal rules governing meetings and decision making.  CMPC will continue to focus on the COVID -19 response and carry out essential business,

through e-mail and video conferencing as appropriate. Standing Orders are therefore suspended and certain actions will be delegated to the Clerk. In all circumstances a clear record of all committee meeting agendas and decisions will be made available on the Council’s website at www.combemartin-pc.gov.uk. Full accountability and transparency are the watchwords.

7.1 Suspension of Co-Option

The process of co-opting new Cllrs on to the Council is suspended, until such time as the restrictions on public meetings is lifted. In the event of the Council becoming inquorate, then the situation will be reviewed as the Council will do what is necessary to continue to function and support our community.

7.2 Grant applications

The Council is making and supporting grant applications for itself and the FHCM group. Part of the funding will be spent on Personal Protective Equipment for the volunteers and the funding of a mileage allowance.

7.3 Support to Berrynarbor Parish

FHCM volunteers have extended their cover to provide pharmacy deliveries to our neighbouring Parish. The Helpline is supporting this and other requests. The details are still being worked out.

7.4 Looking Ahead – we will need more volunteers

As this disease progresses through our community, we will most likely need more volunteers both for the Council Helpline and FHCM. If you want to help:

  • The first step is to consider the Govt guidelines and your own situation.
  • Next, register your name, contact details and type of help you can offer directly with FHCM or through the Council helpline or the council e-mail address: info@combemartin-pc.gov.uk 

Someone will get back to you to confirm how and when to phase your help into the system.

Thank you on behalf of the Parish Council

Cllr David Woodbury

Chairman of Combe Martin Parish Council