By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead


Will life ever return to those heady and now nostalgically regarded halcyon days of pre-COVID? Were there times when we did not have a care in the world and coronavirus was only happening to other people on the other side of the world?

No, of course not. Nor can we turn back time to undo all the damage that has been done over the last two and half years since the virus washed up on these shores and all our lives were changed forever. We cannot bring back those who died from the virus, we cannot reinstate jobs lost and we can only begin to unravel the emotional and mental suffering caused by spending months alone.

And only now are we beginning to understand the tragedy that is blighting thousands of lives, Long Covid. Thankfully we now have vaccines that go a long way to dealing with most of the symptoms of the virus and there are those that say we must learn to live with it in the same way as we do with influenza, with regular injections and a fair wind that prevents us contracting it in the first place.

And that is exactly what is happening once again down at the Riviera Centre in Torquay where thousands of people are attending, having been called up for their seasonal booster injection. Thus far, the boosters are only available for those aged over 65, in front-line caring services or are considered vulnerable because of a pre-existing condition.

No walk-ins have been announced so far, so in the first place, check your eligibility by going online. In just three days last week NHS staff, helped by our indomitable vaccination volunteers, managed to deliver an average of more than 2000 vaccinations a day over three days and they are geared up to do similar numbers over four days this week and five days next.

Keeping the flow-through going at the Riviera Centre is no mean feat, but many of our volunteers have been with us for more than eighteen months now and know to keep a queue of people happy and moving. Up to, but not including last week total vaccinations in Torbay are now 304,965 – first dose 110,892 second dose 106,397 boosters 87,676.

Not bad, in the eighteen months since they were introduced in January 2021. It is down to everyone to ensure we are as safe as we can be by ensuring our vaccinations are up to date, particularly as the weather turns cooler, leading to an expected upturn in infections.

Already the infection numbers are on the turn from record lows during the warm, Summer months and last week there were an estimated 162 cases in the Bay which is an increase of 41% For the vast majority of us, infection will be, certainly compared to pre-vaccination, something that requires little more than bed rest, but for some of the most vulnerable, it could still lead to hospitalisation.

Once again, the NHS is urging caution and asking for our support during the Winter months, as they now not only have the usual winter ills to deal with, but also the potential for COVID cases. None of our prospects are being helped by a cost of living crisis, which is putting even more pressure on our hard-pressed statutory services, already struggling to cope with soaring fuel prices, high inflation which is adding to shopping bills.

Many of the additional pressures are reflected in calls to the Torbay Community Helpline on 01803 446022 which continue to come in at near-record levels from people who need help with what we have dubbed the three F’s – food, fuel and finance.

Already the Helpline has provided support for nearly 10,000 people in the Bay – that is one in 140 of the population and that number rises every week (in addition to the repeat callers). The statutory services can only do so much. The rest is down to us. All of us. Be a Good Neighbour and check on yours today. It could make all the difference.

For more information on the Good Neighbour Scheme call the Helpline on 01803 446022 or go to

COVID-19 model image courtesy of