Information on support available for individuals and households in Torbay as a result of Coronavirus
The following organisations have come together with us to help those in the community that are most vulnerable – Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT), Age UK Torbay, Brixham Does Care, Healthwatch Torbay and CAB Torbay, Yes Brixham, Libraries Unlimited, What’s Your Problem CIC, the Torbay Advice Network, Disability Support Torbay, Homemaker Southwest and Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust.
All support services can be accessed through The Torbay Community COVID-19 Helpline on 01803 446022 from 10am until 6pm Monday to Friday and on Saturdays only from 9:30am to 12:30pm or online via www.bit.ly/torbayhelpline .
Services available to access via the Torbay COVID-19 Community Helpline include;
For more advice and support visit the Torbay Help Hub.
Advice on benefits, debt and cashflow can also be found on the CAB website.
We don’t think anyone in our community should have to go hungry.
If you have been financially affected by COVID-19, and are unable to afford food, Torbay Food Alliance can provide nutritionally balanced grocery parcels, or prepared food if you are unable to prepare food yourself.
Torbay Food Alliance is made up of community and voluntary sector organisations working together in Torbay, as a direct response to the CVOID-19 pandemic.
If you need to access the Food Bank in your area because you cannot afford to pay for food please call the Torbay Community COVID-19 Helpline on 01803 446022.
If you are able to pay for food but are currently self-isolating and unable to get to the shops check out the local businesses that are offering food delivery and/or takeaway services in Torquay, Paignton and Brixham.
A number of organisations are also offering community support to residents. You can find out how to contact them on the community support resources page.
If you still need help during the current lockdown and can't find what you want in the links above then complete the online form.
Please be vigilant to ensure that no-one is targeted or discriminated against as a result of the COVID-19 infection.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a new website which provides clear, factual information on employment and benefits support with advice on housing, furlough, sick pay and self-employment, alongside advice and FAQs for employers, those already claiming and those making a new claim.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact upon the lives and livelihoods of people across Torbay and the South West, this new website is a vital resource for those who need concise, accurate information on the support available to them and their family.
Find out about employment and benefits support
Individuals and households face an uncertain time over the new few months. A range of advice and help is available to those who may need financial support.
|Who can access it?
|What can you access?
|How can you access it?
|Council Tax Support
People who are unemployed or on a low income.
Discount of up to 70% of your yearly council tax. The amount you get depends on how much your council tax is and your household income and circumstances.
Reduced council tax bill
|Discretionary housing payment
If you are receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs and are suffering financial hardship.
DHP can provide additional temporary payments or one off help with accommodation related costs if you are suffering financial hardship, e.g. contribution towards rent, rent in advance, and rent arrears.
|Crisis support scheme
People in need of financial support during an emergency or crisis situation
Help to pay for essential items in an emergency or crisis situation, e.g. to provide food and support for energy bills.
|Exceptional hardship fund
You must be receiving Council Tax Support to be able to claim exceptional hardship payments.
Further reductions to a Council Tax bill that has already been reduced under Council Tax Support.
You may be able to get Universal Credit if:
Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly.
You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work.
Please note this is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and there is a five week wait and one month in arrears.
|Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
Employees if they are too ill to work
If you are self-isolating because of COVID-19: From 13 March, you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people self-isolating in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.
You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.
To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and see GOV.UK: Statutory Sick Pay for more information.
|Mortgage or rental “holiday” for 3 months
Renters experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19
Landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19.
You may be entitled to a mortgage or rental holiday for 3 months.
Contact your Mortgage lender, or the letting agent/landlord of your rented property
|Flexibility to pay back personal loans or credit card bills
If you are experiencing difficulties paying back personal loans or credit card bills as a result of COVID-19
If you agree a payment holiday with your lender, they should record these in such a way that will not impact on your credit score.
Many major lenders have already made statements to this effect. Please talk to your lender.
Care Workers are at the frontline of the coronavirus crisis, caring for society’s most vulnerable and most susceptible to the disease. If a care worker needs to self-isolate, they could fall into desperate need. Apply for a grant or donate.
Additional funding for grants designed to help healthcare assistants, nursing and midwifery professionals with their living costs like rent and utility bills has now been made available.
Industry charity Hospitality Action launched a COVID-19 grant scheme to help hospitality workers who find themselves struggling as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Hospitality workers can apply for a one-off grant of £250 per household.
Anyone can find themselves homeless and knowing you may not have somewhere to live can be a scary time.
If you are worried that you won’t be able to pay your rent or mortgage, or have found yourself living with family or friends, there is help out there. You may have found yourself in a situation where your relationship with your family has broken down and you have had to leave, or your Landlord has served you with an eviction notice, the sooner you ask for help the better.
The first step is to ask for help and we have lots of information and contact details of charities and organisations that can support you in working out the next best steps on our webpages.
If you live in rented accommodation and are experiencing issues like damp, it's cold or repairs are not being carried out, then our Housing Standards Team are there to help. Visit their webpages for support and advice or call 01803 208723.
If you are worried about outstanding debts with the Council please get in touch with our recovery team email@example.com who will be able to offer advice and support.
If you currently have outstanding debts with us that have already been referred to enforcement agents for recovery, these debts are still recoverable and will remain with the enforcement agents. However, as the communities that we serve are our primary consideration, we have requested that enforcement agent visits for Council Tax debts are suspended during the National Lockdown (5 Nov to 2 Dec).
During this time there will still be communications from the enforcement agents, but they will be delivered by other methods. All enforcement agency staff will be able to review your circumstances to effectively assess your ability to pay, particularly with the restrictions on working and social distancing. This will enable an affordable payment plan, which could, in turn, offer breathing space and payment plans over longer terms.
With Government advice varying daily we will provide updates when situations change. But would like to advise customers to explore all financial support options that are available to them, ensuring that their financial circumstances does not worsen if you have been affected by issues related to COVID-19.
Customers are still able to make payments to our Enforcement Agent partners through 24/7 self-serve options, including online payments via the web, automated payment telephony lines and online bank transfers. They continue to maintain a full telephony service customer care team and welfare support team to ensure customers have full contact opportunities either by the phone, via email and letters. If you need to contact the Agents you can call 0333 3202151 which is a low cost, local rate number.
On 25 March 2020 we were advised by our contracted Enforcement Agents that they were closing their contact centres. Customers will still be able to make payments through 24/7 self-serve options, including online payments via the web, automated payment telephony lines and online bank transfers. They will continue to maintain a reduced telephony service customer care team and welfare support team to ensure that customers have some level of contact over the phone or via email and letters.
With regards to the new bill for 2020/2021 we would advise you to continue to make payments even if they are less than your planned instalment values. Reminders will be issued for accounts that accrue arrears, which will contain details of all financial support options that are in place (see above) to try and prevent any further financial hardship.
The Torbay COVID-19 Community Helpline is open seven days a week from 8am until 8pm.