COVID-19 – Help, Support & Advice
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have created this page with the intention of collating information that may be useful for our residents. We will keep the page updated as the situation develops, so please check back often. The single most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus is staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
Sources of Information
There is a wealth of information and advice out there relating to COVID-19, but please ensure that you are using reputable sources of information. We would suggest the following:
How can we help?
If you or someone you know needs help, support or advice due to being isolated, vulnerable or struggling to obtain essential supplies, there are many organisations and community groups that are there to help:
Durham Locate is an online support directory, which lists organisations and groups offering COVID-19 support within your area. If you are unable to access the directory, or are having trouble finding the required support, please call 03000 260 260 between 9am and 5pm weekdays, and 10am and 3pm on weekends. We have used this service on behalf of residents, and have found it to be very quick and effective.
Re-f-use and Handcrafted are providing food boxes meals to those in our area who are in need due to any combination of being low on funds, in isolation, not able to access support from friends and family or being in urgent need of food. As a Parish Council, we have donated £1,000 to help Re-f-use and Handcrafted to be able to continue to provide this much needed support. In order to access meals or food boxes, please contact Re-f-use via their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/refusecic/.
Durham Foodbank are continuing their great work in supplying food parcels to those who are facing financial difficulty. The Parish Council have committed to donate weekly for the rest of 2020 – an equivalent of £1,850 in funding. To access the services provided by the foodbank, please see the information at the following link: https://durham.foodbank.org.uk/get-help/.
If you have difficulty finding the support you require, please contact the Parish Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07803 997 635 and leave a message, and we will do our best to help.
Advice on Employment, Welfare, Housing, Money and Social Care
Citizen’s Advice County Durham have provided the following update:
1) Advice services continue via digital channels only (webchat/telephone)
2) All CACD staff across all projects are now working from home.
3) We are trying to identify resources to enable volunteers home working. Existing IT resource does not currently allow for this.
4) General advice can be accessed via our Adviceline service (Monday to Friday 10:00 – 16:00) We will endeavour to make this service available 9.00 -17.00 Tel: 0300 330 9027
5) Debt advice can be accessed via our specialist telephone service 0300 323 2000 (Monday to Friday 09:00 – 13:00)
6) Advice on making a New Claim for Universal Credit (Help to Claim) is available via Freephone on 0800 144 8 444 (Mon-Fri 08:00 – 18:00) or via webchat https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ (08:00 – 18:00)
7) CoronaVirus FAQs will soon be accessible from our website – https://www.citizensadvicecd.org.uk/
8) We are accepting enquiries via Facebook, but please be aware we can only provide very generic responses via this channel.
9) Our DurhamWorks and DurhamROAD projects will continue to support existing participants. If new learners want to engage, they should do so via https://durhamworks.info/
Another useful source of information and advice is https://advicelocal.uk/covid19.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting all our lives. Things are changing fast, and many of us are worrying about what it all means for ourselves and for our loved ones. If you’re finding things hard emotionally right now, you’re not alone.
Recovery College Online are providing information on immediate feelings you may have and common reactions, managing your mental health at this time, managing isolation and social distancing, self-care, and support and advice for children and young people.
Mental health charity Mind have a wealth of information, covering topics such as wellbeing, coping with going to work during the COVID-19 pandemic, loneliness, stress & anxiety, bereavement, and supporting children and teens.
Shout is a free 24/7 text service for anyone who is feeling anxious, stressed or worried. Text 85258 to chat via text with someone anytime, anywhere.
Local charity If U Care Share provide advice and support by those who are feeling low or suicidal, and families who have been affected by suicide.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a huge surge in scams, including:
- Fraudulent emails containing hyperlinks or attachments, which people in a heightened state of worry are more likely than normal to click on.
- People offering goods that are in temporarily short supply (e.g toilet roll) or increased demand (e.g. face masks) for sale at knockdown prices, taking payment and then never delivering the goods.
- Fraudsters posing as volunteers and conning vulnerable (particularly elderly) people by taking their credit cards so that they could do their shopping for them, and then making additional unauthorised purchases.
The list above is a small sample of the depths some people will stoop to. It’s a time for being extra-vigilant, pausing before clicking, and making sure that online and offline security measures are in place and up to date. For further information and to report instances of fraud, please visit https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/covid19.
Victim Support have published the following advice on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of scams and fraud.