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Grants prove ‘lifesaver’ to Topsham group battling Covid-19

Published: 17 April 2020

Estuary League of Friends Estuary League of Friends

A Topsham group supporting vulnerable and elderly people during the Coronavirus pandemic has described the awarding of almost £4,000 from the Exeter Covid-19 Action Fund as “a life saver!”

The Estuary League of Friends was successful in applying for two grants to help people in Topsham, Countess Wear and Newtown.

The money will be used to maintain the charity’s lifeline Home Help service for 98 vulnerable and elderly people in Topsham and the surrounding area, providing help in the home so that they can live safely during the Coronavirus outbreak.

It will also help fund the cooking of hot meals in the café at Nancy Potter House, which are then delivered by local volunteers to vulnerable people who are self-isolating, especially elderly residents who are living alone or carers.

Rachel Gilpin, Chief Executive of the League of Friends, said the money would enable them to carry on providing a crucial service in the community.

“In the last few weeks, nearly every client or their family called us because they were worried we would have to stop this vital work and that they would be unable to look after themselves safely in their own home without our support,” Rachel said.

She added: “We are getting over 60 phone calls a day to our helpline which is open 7 days a week. Callers are mostly people who haven't used our services before who are having to self-isolate and are asking for our help. The grants are a lifesaver.  They will help us make sure that people get help when they need it.”

So far, more than £57,000 has been handed out by the £1 million Exeter Covid-19 Action Fund, which is being supported by the Exeter Chiefs Foundation.

The Action Fund was launched at the end of last month in tandem with support service Exeter Community Wellbeing. It enables organisations to get rapid access to small grants to allow them to work on local projects to support those people and communities most affected by the pandemic.

Also receiving grants were the following groups:

  • Home-Start Exeter, East and Mid Devon - £1,000 – to provide smart phones to volunteers to enable them to stay connected with their Home-Start family. The families are isolated and the volunteers provide emotional support and are able to signpost families to other support services.
  • Pennsylvania Good Neighbour Group - £1,000 - Supporting 88 volunteers to help vulnerable people who are self-isolating with prescription delivers, shopping, poverty shopping, welfare checks and dog walks.
  • bthechange CIC - £956.69 – to help maintain direct contact with Exeter women who are at HMP Eastwood, many of which are in their last weeks of sentence.

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