Sampford Courtenay

Our response is co-ordinated through a IMT (Incident Management Team) made up of key Councillors and skilled Parish Supporters including the Parish Clerk and Website administrator responsible for coordination and communications.

General business is currently conducted under delegated powers to the Chair, Vice Chair and RFO, however the next Parish Council Meeting is to take place under the new legislation virtually via ZOOM using the guidance helpfully circulated via NALC & DALC. The response to the COVID-19 use of ZOOM for maintaining contact with parishioners has been really positive and it is hoped that this will continue for public participation at our monthly Parish meetings.

On the Contingency side, our IMT met very early in the unfolding situation of COVID-19 and instigated the Infectious Diseases Plan, as the lockdown came into effect we moved to meets over Zoom and the daily log and minutes of the meeting setting out advice and decisions are published on our website and included in the public newsletters published and emailed to parishioners.

The Co-ordinator our Parish Clerk manages the list of volunteers and maintains a regular contact with them all via updates and information newsletters that they can cascade to their designated areas. Following the lockdown we made the decision not to continue with parish wide letter drops, instead encouraging those that have reliable internet access to sign up to our community email link and to check the updated website for our dedicated COVID-19 page and also for those with Facebook our Parish Facebook page. Since the start of the pandemic there has been an increase of over 200% with over 160 parishioners receiving emails via the weblink. Additionally the Facebook page has received an increase of 250% in page views, 150% page follows and 125% in post engagements. To see what we are up to take a view of our Website and our Facebook https://

As stated we recognise that not everyone has access to the internet and so telephone contact via cascade system through the volunteers helps to keep others informed together with use of all our notice boards to update key activities and information that is available via the IMT.

Supporting local businesses we have also produced and advertised a list of producers and shops as well as Pubs providing a Take Away service, with contact details and payment methods as well as price lists and then collection and delivery (when not provided by the producer) is arranged via the volunteer team. At the initial IMT it was agreed to collate the details of all those who needed to request support, this is regularly reviewed via the Volunteer structure and updated following key Government Guidance such as the shielding policy to ensure that those that need support have a structure around them that meets their needs. This is an area where we have had to overcome barriers in information sharing, there is no mechanism for public bodies to share information, recognising the need for protection of data, a lack of ability and willingness to share information legally has created duplication and extra work for all responders, but we have relied on our own communications network to create the comprehensive list that is maintained and protected by the Co-ordinator.

We have created a very vibrant virtual community activity schedule (which is largely based around ZOOM but does seek to include those not on the internet) with activities including Virtual Coffee Mornings and Yoga both 3 times a week, a weekly quiz, Ready Steady Cook Challenge with all recipes being collated and will be created into a COVID Cookbook. We have created a plant and produce stall (bring and buy) in the Parish Square, raising money for a Freedom Celebration when we are clear of the COVID restrictions. Regular Social groups that normally meet are continuing to do so on line including ‘The Grumpies’, the book club and local choir.

Unfortunately our church is closed but we are seeking to prepare for VE Day celebrations ensuring that we as a Parish can sing along with Vera and have the bells ring virtually to celebrate. There is as everywhere a real gratitude to our NHS and every Thursday the bells, drums and pots and pans can be heard ringing out to show that support. For the 30 April 2020 and the call for recognising the birthday of the Hero Captain Tom we are hoping to create a ‘Mexican wave’ of noise and celebratory clapping throughout the main village culminating in a birthday tribute to this great man. As well as fund raising we have applied for and been granted the COVID Prompt Action Grant to support our volunteer and virtual activities.