Help during Coronavirus
At Suffolk Carers Matter, we understand this is a concerning time for you and your family, and you will have many questions about Coronavirus (Covid-19). To help you, here are some of the most useful and relevant links for you in Suffolk to help you access additional information, advice and guidance.
Home But Not Alone: A partnership of Suffolk’s councils, police, health bodies and charitable organisations have created a local COVID-19 app to support vulnerable people in the county during the coronavirus pandemic.
This free support is available for those who do not have support available from friends, family or neighbours, are struggling for food, medicines or other essential supplies, or are feeling lonely and isolated.
Those in genuine need of help can call 0800 876 6926 between 9am to 5pm every day.
If you’re a shielded patient, you will receive a letter from the NHS with details on how to register for a weekly NHS food parcel. If you have not received this letter from the NHS classing you as a shielded patient but believe you should be, you can register yourself or on behalf of someone else on the Government website.
If you’re not a shielded patient, speak to family, friends or neighbours who may be able to support you.
If you’re urgently struggling for food, please call the Home, But Not Alone emergency phoneline on 0800 876 6926.
For supermarket deliveries, each supermarket operates slightly differently, so please be sure to check their website or contact them for more information:
- Co-operative (Co-op)
- Lidl (do not offer delivery)
- Marks and Spencer (M&S)
Remember, you can order also order takeaway food online with services such as: Just Eat or Uber Eats.
You can contact your local café, restaurant, greengrocer or independent store to find out if they offer delivery. Many local food outlets will also take orders and payment over the phone and deliver to you.
You can stop your government food parcel if you don’t need it by leaving a note where the package is normally dropped off (or speak to the driver) and the company will pass on this information on your behalf. (N.B. it can take up to 7 days for a change in circumstances to be registered)
Alternatively follow these steps:
- Visit gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable
- Click the green Start Now button
- Answer the questions accurately, until you reach the question “Do you have a way of getting essential supplies delivered at the moment”
- For this question, answer “Yes”
In the first instance, if possible, ask family, friends or neighbours if they are able to help you.
Where this isn’t possible, you should contact your GP regarding delivery of your prescription or medication as many GPs and pharmacies have set up delivery services in conjunction with local community organisations.
You can find your GP’s contact details on the NHS website using your postcode.
Remember, if you’re urgently in need of medicine call the Home, But Not Alone emergency phoneline on 0800 876 6926. It’s available 9am to 5pm every day (including weekends).
Services such as these will need to be provided by private companies. Please use the Suffolk County Council community directory Suffolk InfoLink to search for services such as gardening, cleaning or dog walking, and please bear in mind that some companies services may be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Home repairs and maintenance by tradespeople are allowed during the current restrictions if:
- the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms
- social distancing is followed (remaining two metres apart)
You can use Checkatrade to find a local tradesperson such as a plumber, electrician or carpenter.
Work by tradespeople must not be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded unless it’s urgent, for example an emergency plumbing repair.
Remember, no work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, even if these are mild.
If you would like to do this, in the first instance, speak to your GP. Find your GP on the NHS website.
If you have not received a letter from the NHS classing you as a shielded patient but believe you should be, you can register yourself or on behalf of someone else on GOV.UK.
The government is prioritising coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for certain groups of people.
Find out if you are eligible for testing on the government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested website.
Please note, you should not buy Coronavirus home testing kits, as the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency advises against the online purchase of home testing kits as there are no CE-marked tests for home use, and it is illegal to supply such products.
For any home testing, please only use the Government sampling kit provided through official channels for use at home.
If the person you care for has no other friends or family to support them, or they cannot care for themselves in the short-term, use the webchat on the Suffolk County Council website to contact adult social care (Customer First).
If the person you care for needs urgent help with food or medication, and there is no other support via family, friends or neighbours, call the Home, But Not Alone emergency phoneline 0800 876 6926, available from 9am to 5pm every day (including weekends).
Remember, you can also call our Advice Line at Suffolk Carers Matter for support on 01284 333035, Monday to Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday-Sunday 10am-2pm.
If you are experiencing loneliness, isolation or any other mental health issue as a result of the situation created by the coronavirus pandemic, remember, you are not alone.
If you feel you are in crisis or are experiencing something that makes you feel unsafe, distressed or worried about your mental health, First Response, run by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, 0808 196 3494 is a phone number available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. First Response provides immediate advice, support and signposting for people with mental health difficulties.
If you don’t have support available from friends, family or neighbours, Home, But Not Alone 0800 8766 926 can put you in touch with local volunteers and community groups in your area.
As a carer, if you are feeling bored, anxious or lonely as a result of the coronavirus restrictions, remember it’s important to look after yourself as well as others. Please be sure to make time for your mental health and wellbeing. There are free and meaningful things you can do to increase your wellbeing at home. Check out these useful resources through the Suffolk County Council website for example ways to keep active, how to manage anxiety or sleep well home.
Other useful resources for mental health support in Suffolk can be found on the Suffolk Mind website and through the Norfolk & Suffolk Wellbeing Partnership, who have useful webinars (online) & programmes and daily wellbeing webinar with coronavirus support. You can also get mental health and wellbeing support through Suffolk Advice Guidance & Emotional Support (SAGES), Ipswich & East Suffolk CCG, and NSFT Norfolk & Suffolk Foundation Trust, who have Set up a 24/7 helpline offering immediate support for mental health: 0808 196 3494.
Financial concerns as a result of the impact of coronavirus are causing a great deal of stress and anxiety for many, including carers. If you’re getting less work or no work because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can apply online for Universal Credit or apply for ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance, if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.
If you have your own business, please note, Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to businesses from the government, and you can also find local advice to businesses regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you are concerned about my rent, mortgage or other bills, in the first instance, speak directly to your landlord, mortgage company, utility company or service provider to talk through the options available to you.
If you’re struggling to pay your Council Tax, you can ask for help through your borough or district council (find your local council):
You can contact Citizens Advice for concerns around money, benefits, housing, employment, legal, debt, family and consumer problems. Citizens Advice offices are not currently offering face-to-face appointments. You can receive support over the phone from them and online (hours may vary) on the Suffolk Adviceline: 0300 330 1151.
Below is the Citizens Advice contact information for different areas of Suffolk:
- 0300 330 1151
- 01449 676060 / 01449 676280 (or use their contact form: midsuffolkcab.org.uk/2020/03/17/call-or-use-this-form)
Felixstowe and District
North East Suffolk
- 01502 518510 / 01502 717715
Sudbury and District
- (Suffolk Advice Line) 0300 330 1151
Diss, Thetford and District:
- Visit suffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus for local information on health, schools, business and service changes
- There is a national domestic violence 24-hour helpline on 0808 200 0247.
For the latest changes in your local council’s services, visit the dedicated COVID-19 pages on your local council’s website: