Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help says Sidmouth Town Council chairman

Ian Barlow is standing for Sidmouth Town Council. Picture: Ian Barlow

Ian Barlow is standing for Sidmouth Town Council. Picture: Ian Barlow - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth residents needing help with getting shopping, medicine or even needing someone to talk to should not feel embarrassed to let their community help them.

Those are the words of Sidmouth Town Council chairman Ian Barlow, who himself has been in self-isolation for three weeks – and has only left the house once during this time.

The authority has put together a host of information for residents on its website and produced and distributed helpful leaflets through Sidmouth doors.

Cllr Barlow said: “Most people get their information from social media but there are quite a few older residents in the vulnerable category that don’t have access to the internet or don’t use social media which is why the town council produced a local information leaflet.

“There is a long list of organisations in the town that are helping people, like Sid Valley Help, Sid Valley Food Bank, the churches and many more groups, organisations and individuals.

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“The town council has been working hard with all of them to see if they are having any problems and if we can offer any assistance or help.

“We want to help give them the resources they need to help the community.

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“Around 70 people came forward to help deliver the leaflets for instance and there are lots of people that are helping their neighbours and that has worked very well and proves our community spirit is not wanting in this time.

“Everyone is suffering from this, people feel guilt and are asking if they can do more, but we can do more for our community by just staying at home and that is the message we want to get out.

“The other message is that we want people in need of assistance, or who are vulnerable but feel like they are being a nuisance, to ask for help, even if they just need someone to talk to. I can assure them none of our partner organisations will think that they are wasting their time, don’t worry just ring up and chat to us.”

Cllr Barlow reminded residents how important it was for people to look after their physical and mental health.

He added: “People shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask for help.

“There are people out there that want to help. We have all sorts of volunteers of all ages.

“We will get through this and there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Life may be different and it will be a new challenge.

“I have been in isolation for three weeks. If you are used to doing a lot and suddenly have to stay at home it takes time to get used to. I have read a lot of books and watched a lot of films and drunk a lot of rum.

“I have also learnt that cooking meals from scratch is easier and quicker than I thought, although not always quite how they appear in the pictures accompanying the recipes.

“I have learnt I cannot win at all the family board and card games as I did when my daughters were younger, even if I cheat.

“And, my dog has had to go for more walks than normal as everyone is walking him for their exercise.

“It is tough for him, but he assures me he’s going to be okay and that we all have to make sacrifices.”

Visit for the latest information and updates on services that can help you.

Sidmouth Town Council has put together a list of home delivery schemes. This includes Woolbrook News Delivery Service - 01395 514224, Spar Delivery Service - 01395 513008, Drews of Sidbury Delivery Service - 01395 597373, The Dairy Shop, Sidmouth - 01395 513018, The Balfour Arms for meal and shopping deliveries - 07900 200327, The Courtyard for delivery of hot and cold food and extra items - 01395 577553, Ian Winchester and Sons for fresh fruit, vegetables and other items - 07791 586197, Royal York and Faulkner Hotel for freshly prepared meals 0800 220714, Sidmouth Voluntary Services for hot meals and phone support for elderly and vulnerable residents – 01395 515063 and Market Fruit and Veg, Sidmouth – 07400 024250.

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