Kevin Fosters Residents’ Update Maundy Thursday 9th April 2020


Many thanks to Kevin Foster for permitting us to use part of his weekly Residents’Update.

£17.7m Hospital Debt Write Off,

There was very welcome news earlier today as the Government confirmed Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Torbay Hospital, will benefit from a £17,731,000 debt write-off as part of the government’s announcement to scrap £13.4 billion of NHS debt across England.

This debt write-off will rid more than a hundred NHS hospitals of historic debt, freeing them up to invest in maintaining vital services and longer-term infrastructure improvements. This announcement also comes alongside a new NHS funding model to make sure the NHS has the necessary funding and support to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The changes will provide much needed financial support during this unprecedented viral pandemic, as well as laying secure foundations for the longer-term commitments set out last year to support the NHS to become more financially sustainable.

This is part of a package of major reforms to the NHS financial system, designed in a collaboration between the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, which will begin from the start of the new financial year.

Trusts across the South West will see a total of £825,562,000 of debt written off thanks to this move.

Supporting The Most Vulnerable,

The Torbay Shielding Hub has now been established at Torquay Town Hall to support those who have been advised to shield themselves for 12 weeks.

The number of Torbay residents who have been advised to shield is now at 2644. The hub have now made successful contact with more than 1,500 vulnerable residents. The aim is to ensure those residents who have been advised by the Government to shield are OK and that they have essential supplies to get them through a couple days. Where residents advise they do not have enough food, the delivery of a food parcel is arranged to go out to them. If concerned they are not able to get exercise, then a call from the Lifestyles Team can be arranged and if residents are struggling more generally with the challenges of self-isolation then they can be referred to the Community Development Trust for support from the community and voluntary sector.

The Hub is staffed by five officers from Torbay Council plus others from the integrated care organisation.

It is good to see this support package get underway and my thanks go to Torbay Council’s team who have got this vital service underway.

I am advised details of this list has also been shared with the major supermarket chains who will look to co-ordinate their delivery slots to provide a priority service for those affected by this.

Hospice Funding,

Last night a £200m package of funding for Hospices was confirmed as part of a wider package for charities.

I was delighted to hear this news having written on behalf of Rowcroft Hospice to Cabinet colleagues urging them to consider the plight of these services, which are based on charitable donations. The £200m package reflects what the Hospices sector had asked for.

Rowcroft’s services are more vital than ever, but funding has dried up as many fundraising events have been cancelled. They simply cannot furlough their staff and mothball their facility at a time when so many are in need, hence the need for the Government to step in.

harity Funding Package,

Charities across the UK will receive a £750 million package of support to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak.

  • £750 million pot for frontline charities across the UK – including hospices and those supporting domestic abuse victims
  • £360 million direct from government departments and £370 million for smaller charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund.
  • The Government will match donations to the National Emergencies Trust as part of the BBC’s Big Night In fundraiser later this month – pledging a minimum of £20 million.

Government Departments will now work at pace to identify priority recipients, with the aim for charities to receive money in the coming weeks. The application system for the National Lottery Community Fund grant pot is expected to be operational within a similar period of time.

You can read more details on the Government website.

Council Call Centre Available Over the Weekend,

Torbay Council’s Call Centre will be available over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend for anyone who needs support with council services.

The call centre is available on weekdays from 9am to 5pm and will also be available on Good Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Easter Monday from 9am to 1pm. It will also be available every weekend throughout April from 9am to 1pm.

The call centre can be contacted on 01803 207201 and will be available to provide advice and support to local residents on all services including housing, council tax, Registrar services and business rates, and can also advise on changes to local services as a result of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Community Helpline,

Staff at Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT), Ageing Well Torbay (AWT) and Brixham Does Care are working with voluntary groups across the Bay and have set up a phone line for people in need of help because of illness or isolation and also for those that are prepared to offer help.

The phone line, which will be staffed 24/7, covers Torquay and Paignton. The number is 01803 446022. Brixham Does Care can be contacted directly on 01803 857727 (Mon-Fri, 9am-4:30pm).

Easter Service,

Whilst there will be no physical walks of witness or Dawn Services on our beautiful beaches, there are still plenty of chances to mark Easter.

The Church of England will be posting services and reflections on its Facebook Page:

The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales has posted a wealth of resources on its webpages:

This will seem an odd time for Christians here in the bay, we are used to our church meeting and celebrating Easter and its promise in our beautiful and historic buildings, then sharing the fellowship with our friends and family. Yet this is something many in the persecuted church can only dream of, instead marking it behind closed doors at home.

This Easter will be a chance to reflect on this during our own time of challenge.

and finally…….Virtual Riviera.

Ending on a different note it will seem strange spending a sunny Easter Weekend at home, but you can still take in the sights our bay has to offer.

You can walk around Berry Head Nature Reserve, take a tour of the Brixham Fish Market or visit tigers, crocodiles and penguins during feeding time at Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts in virtual reality all from the comfort of your home.

You can put on a VR headset to experience these videos in full, or simply enjoy the 360 video online and on your mobile. Just click here to find them on the English Riviera website.

That is all for this week and I hope you have a Happy Easter.

Best Wishes,


This is an abridged version and the full version can be found on his website.

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Author: StLukesRA

St Luke's Residents' Association

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