Open letter to residents from Councillor Chris Penberthy

24 March 2020

Dear residents,

We live in a fantastic city which has always pulled together in times of real hardship.

We have been blown away by the incredible numbers of support groups popping up across the city and of individual neighbours showing wonderful acts of kindness in the face of coronavirus.

We are seeing social media being used as a powerful force for good with Facebook groups setting both city-wide and in local neighbourhoods like Plymstock.

Neighbourhoods are setting up WhatsApp group to connect, support and coordinate.

In my own patch, organisations like the Hoe Neighbourhood Forum and the Adelaide Street Angels are reaching out to people with offers of help with shopping and dog walking.

Our strength is our people and we will do what we can as a local authority to support you.

I want to reach out not only to say thank you but to help provide some useful information so that we help each other in the spirit of kindness safely:

Share accurate information and advice

Support anyone who may be anxious about Covid-19. Sign post them to the correct advice from Public Health England and encourage people to follow the correct hygiene practices. We are keeping our website up to date with this information:

If people are worried about benefits or employment rights sign post them to people who will know such as citizen’s advice:

Support our most vulnerable and isolated

We’re already in the process of setting up a hub to protect the most vulnerable. We’ll be releasing more details about this soon.

Some groups are more at risk than others, some are formally self-isolating and loneliness is a big concern.

Connect with your neighbours and reach out to the other community efforts via social media. Can you donate to foodbanks or do you have skills that could help our amazing community and voluntary sector such as training in mental health?

We have already been inundated with good will, with over 200 people getting in touch to offer us their skills. If you would like to help log on to and fill in the form. We’ll get in touch with you if we need you.

Setting up new community groups

If you are thinking of setting up a new community group just to support people during this COVID-19 outbreak, and would like some advice please email

Think about the safety of our community – look out for each other

There are some things that this current situation might make some people more vulnerable to.


Domestic abuse - if you or someone else is in immediate danger call 999

Lastly, be kind to each other

Many of us will face challenges and during this time it will be even more important to think of others. 

Keep safe, and look after each other,


Cllr Chris Penberthy

Cabinet Member for Housing and Co-operative Development