One particular phone number has been important in and around Malmesbury since the start of the COVID 19 emergency - 01666 815888. It is the Malmesbury Town Council and Heals Partnership Helpline number that has been open seven days a week since late March for residents to call for help with essential supplies or other support.
The Helpline, which has been offered and operated for free by The Virtual Business Centre based at Brinkworth, has been at the heart of the Partnership operation taking calls and passing information through to the local volunteer coordinators. So far, it has responded to almost 900 calls. However, the number of calls has reduced significantly in recent weeks and so the decision has been taken by the Partnership to suspend the Helpline with effect from next Friday 4th September.
Mayor of Malmesbury and Chair of the Partnership, Campbell Ritchie said. ‘The Helpline service has been invaluable and I can’t thank Claire Brewerton and her team enough for operating it for us without charge during the emergency. It was a huge benefit to our volunteer co-ordinators and all those we were helping to know the Partnership had a robust telephone service. Claire has offered to start up the line again if we need it. For now, though, the line has served its purpose and callers are being directed to other services that are back in place. Any other remaining requests for help can be made directly to our local charity, Heals, or via the Town Council team at the Town Hall'.
Claire Brewerton, owner of the Virtual Business Centre said ‘From the start of the emergency we knew our phone answering services could be used for the benefit of the local community and supporting the Partnership was a very effective way for us to become involved. I and my team are very pleased we have been able to contribute so practically during the worst of the emergency and, while we hope we will not be needed, we stand by to help again if required'.