Town councils are urging residents not to ‘put the vulnerable at risk’ by bulk buying and to use trusted sources for official coronavirus updates.

Bridport Town Council met on Monday to see what members could do to support the effort to see residents through the difficult times ahead.

Cllr Dave Rickard, leader of the council, said: “I should start by saying how moved they were by the things people are already doing to support vulnerable people - like the new Bridport Coronavirus Community Support group, other existing community support groups, the people posting their details through neighbours' doors offering help, etc. This is a fast-moving situation but councillors are determined to support these local efforts and add to them where possible.”

The council will compile all the help and support available as well as provide practical and financial help to community groups involved in helping vulnerable people.

It will also be talking to supermarkets and other businesses that are crucial to people in isolation about how they can best meet the needs of the community as well as maintaining their own services by scaling back. This also includes council meetings.

The town council will also keep the community informed on what is going on.

Cllr Rickard added: “The situation is clearly changing all of the time and this will affect what we can do and what we should be doing. We'll be as flexible as we can in reacting to changing circumstances.

“Wider community help in all this is vital. We have just 21 members of staff, nearly half of these part-time. Their work will be made more effective by the excellent volunteer support that is springing up across the town, and by everyone adhering to the advice about staying safe - hygiene, social distancing, self-isolating etc. We all also have a responsibility not to put the vulnerable at increased risk by bulk buying. The supermarkets have said they can maintain supplies if we are measured in our shopping needs, and we should take that assurance at face value.

“People can help us develop our support and information by telling us what they need, what they need to know, and how they want to access information. We can't do everything, but we can make sure people know where they can get help. Email us your thoughts and ideas please to Will Austin, town clerk at, or call Will on 01308456722.

“For most of us, this is the biggest societal challenge we will have faced but I see this as our opportunity to shine as a community. I know that we will achieve most if we all focus on being the best we can be - by staying strong, safe and supportive. We are Bridport, and we will prevail.”

Lyme Regis Town Council is also regularly monitoring the coronavirus situation and is following official guidance.

Town clerk John Wright said: “The council remains open and will continue as normal for as long as possible or until told otherwise.

“We are implementing precautionary measures where appropriate and should the situation change, plans are being put in place to maintain council services where possible.

“We will aim to provide support to the wider community where appropriate and will co-ordinate aid and resources with other local organisations, such as Dorset Council.

“We are regularly communicating with our staff and councillors and further decisions are expected to be made by the Strategy and Finance Committee on Wednesday (March 18). We need to find a sensible way through this situation to ensure essential business is dealt with and urgent decisions can be made.

“The council’s priority is the health and safety of our staff, councillors and customers and we will act accordingly with the guidance issued.

“The mayor, Cllr Brian Larcombe, has taken the decision to cancel civic night, which was due to take place on Saturday 4 April, and full refunds will be given to all those who have bought tickets.

“We have contacted the organisers of all major events due to take place in Lyme Regis to establish their position and ensure decisions are made in a timely manner. Meetings and discussions are already taking place, particularly for events scheduled for April and May.

“The council will provide daily updates about its own services and help communicate information about other community events and activities.

“The council would urge the public to use trusted websites and sources for official guidance and regular updates, specifically and”

Beaminster Town Council is working with the community and co-ordinating volunteers and help to those who most need it. Find out more here.