This is a guide to the help and support available to protect the wellbeing of people affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
This includes those at increased medical risk from the virus and those who are asked to self-isolate under the government’s Test and Protect programme.
Many people will face challenges in accessing and affording food and other essentials during this crisis. Support available is summarised within this guide.
The guide will continue to be updated to reflect the support available.
Latest position on coronavirus
For the latest guidance on Coronavirus visit NHS Inform.
Leaving home to purchase essentials
People in the ‘shielded’ group have been advised that they must not leave their homes for 12 weeks – and additional support is in place for these people. This support is summarised in the shielding support and contacts guide.
Individuals who must self-isolate due to suspected COVID-19 symptoms or household members having symptoms, must also not leave their homes. Read more: guidelines for people with possible coronavirus infection on NHS Inform.
For all others, including those at increased clinical risk - such as over 70s, pregnant women and those who receive the flu jab for medical reasons, but not those advised to shield - you are able to leave your home for essential purposes. This includes getting food or gas and electricity top ups for pre-paid meters, health reasons, work (if you cannot work from home) or taking outside exercise. However we ask those at increased risk to take particular care, including washing their hands regularly and once they return home.
The national helpline
If nobody can help you get the food and essentials you need or if you cannot afford to buy them please phone the national helpline on 0800 111 4000, or contact via textphone on 0800 111 4114.
The helpline is open office hours Monday to Friday. This will connect you to your local authority who can help provide support or signpost on to other organisations to help you.