Support during Covid-19

Covid-19 is having an impact on all our lives and you may be struggling with self-isolating or experiencing hardship due to changes to your expected income. The support services listed on this page are for national services so will be suitable for anyone and everyone if you or somebody you know is in need of support.

Many of the queries we've received from our residents focus on financial issues, so we've set up a benefits and money advice page.

  • Food banks

    For people who are well and able to leave their homes but experiencing food hardship, local foodbanks may be able to help in the short-term. Visit Trussell Trust to locate your nearest foodbank.

    Foodbanks usually require a food voucher from an approved referral agency, however due to Covid-19 many are accepting email referrals. Some may also accept self-referrals. If you require a referral to a food bank, get in contact with your housing officer.

  • Free school meals

    Some schools are continuing to provide free meals for eligible children, available for collection or delivery. Where this is not possible, the government has introduced a voucher system whereby families receive e-gift cards/codes to the value of £15 per child to be used at supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S.

    For more information on the scheme visit the government's guidance on free school meals.

    Please contact your child’s school to find out how you can access this support.

  • Extremely vulnerable residents

    Anyone with a medical condition that makes them extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 should register onto the government list for extra support. You can also register on behalf of somebody else.

    For guidance on who falls under the definition of ‘extremely vulnerable’ please visit the government's website.

  • Help for older people

    Age UK is operating and providing Covid-19 support in many local boroughs. To search for local support please visit Age UK's website or call the Age UK Advice Line on 0800 055 6112 (8am-7pm 365 days a year).

  • Energy and bills

    The government has launched an emergency package with energy suppliers, to ensure customers do not have any additional hardship in heating or lighting their homes during the coronavirus outbreak. You can find more information about this scheme on the government's website.

    Speak to your energy supplier if you're struggling financially or in arrears with gas or electricity bills. You could get support including:

    • reduced bills or debt repayments
    • a temporary break in your bills or debt arrangements

    If you have a pre-payment meter and are self-isolating or unable to leave your home, you should speak to your supplier to discuss your options. Please note call lines may be extremely busy and so you should use online options where possible.

    You may be able to, for example:

    • arrange for someone else to top up your meter
    • add credit to your account automatically
    • send you a pre-loaded top up card

    You may need to leave your meter box unlocked if you need someone else to top it up.

     

  • Mental health

    Samaritans

    If you’re struggling to cope or need someone to talk to the Samaritans are available 24/7. You can call for free from any phone on 116 123 or text 85258 or send an email to jo@samaritans.org (response time 24 hours).

    Mind

    Mind offers advice, support and information around mental health issues including self-harm. You can call Mind on 0300 123 3393 (weekdays 9am - 6pm) or email info@mind.org.uk to find out what services are available in your area.

    For emergency support relating to your own mental health or someone you know, you can contact your local mental health services and ask to speak to the crisis team.

    For immediate medical help please access A&E.

  • Domestic abuse

    Self-isolating brings new challenges for people who are living through domestic abuse and it may be difficult to access support or escape abuse. Support is available from the Police as normal, please always call 999 for emergency support or 101 for non-emergency support.

    For anyone worried about isolating with a perpetrator or if you are worried about someone else, please call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on free phone 0808 2000 247 (24/7 support) or make contact online.

    When telephone support is not safe, Women’s Aid offer an online service, this includes an instant messaging service (available weekdays 10am - 12pm), email support (response within 5 days) and a survivor’s handbook to get help on housing, safety planning, dealing with police and more.

  • Debt and budgeting

    If you’re worried about debt you can visit the Money Advice Service for more information. You can also call 0800 138 7777 or send a message using WhatsApp to +44 7701 342744 to find out where you can access debt advice.

    You can visit Citizens Advice Bureau online for a wide range of issues. You can also talk through your issue online with a trained adviser on their web chat service (weekdays 10am - 4pm).

For support with any other issues, have a look at our support services directory. Alternatively, you can get in touch with your officer/PMO for advice.