Coronavirus — We are currently asking people to only come into our offices for essential visits. Where possible, people should contact us by phone or email or through our website. For up-to-date information about our services and links to useful advice, see our Coronavirus page

Coronavirus: Support for residents

Support for residents

We are working with our partners to provide as much support to our communities as possible and we will keep you updated on the situation as changes occur.

Please follow advice from Central Government and Public Health England on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus.Hoe

How we can help

We are offering support for anyone who is feeling vulnerable through our Help Hub, this help is:

  • For all ages
  • To obtain basic essentials
  • If you’re feeling isolated or lonely
  • If you’re worried about issues at home including relationships
  • Money worries.

We can help to:

  • Provide food parcels, help to collect food from the shops, access to food banks
  • Pick up medication from pharmacies
  • Provide information about alleviating loneliness/isolation
  • Provide information about support to reduce tension in the home, domestic abuse, children
  • Provide debt and welfare advice for individuals and families who have are in financial difficulty due to the coronavirus.
  • Provide practical advice for older people who find themselves more vulnerable as a result of coronavirus, and we will work closely with adult social care to do this.

You can find out about the range of services offered and help available from our Help Hub section on the website. For non-urgent support please complete our online form or call 01508 533933.

We can also offer practical support to residents depending on your circumstances:

  • Working age and currently claiming benefits: if you lose money as a result of the coronavirus, we will look to our existing systems to top up your support. There will be a criteria around this but our aim will be to reduce red tape to a minimum in order to speed up the process.
  • Working age and not claiming benefits: we have created a hardship fund to ensure we can deal with loss of income due to the coronavirus. This will be in the form of payments and advice (some payment may come from DWP)

Hardship Fund

We have created a fund to support our residents who are experiencing severe hardship due to the coronavirus crisis.

The hardship fund is limited and is to support those who need it for a short period only, for example to help with food and daily essentials whilst you wait for you welfare benefit to be awarded or receive any advanced payments. If you or any members of your household (including partners) have any savings, capital or investments it is unlikely that you will qualify for any hardship payments.

When considering your application we will also be looking at yours and your households circumstances and  if you have taken steps to maximise your income and decrease your outgoings, for example if you could potentially qualify for any welfare benefits or other discretionary payments already available, if you have contacted your landlord, mortgage provider and other debtors for payment holidays etc.

The amount you can receive will be limited and the fund will generally not be able to cover bills such as phones, television subscriptions, sky, virgin, utility bills, credit cards, car loans etc. It is for essentials for daily living such as food.

Working age households that are in receipt of Council Tax Support will automatically receive up to £150, which will be used to reduce your Council Tax bill from April 2020. You don’t need to apply for this, we will amend your account and let you know.

Complete the Hardship Fund form here

For help and support with the form please call the benefits team on 01603 430602.

Please, stay at home

Every one of our residents is important to us. But some residents are ignoring national advice and going out when we should all be staying at home. This puts us all at risk of COVID-19, especially people who are over 70 or who suffer from ill-health.

We know this is a worrying time, especially if you live alone, and we really want to help. There are lots of volunteers in our communities who want to help too. So instead of going out, please think about other ways to do things. For example:

  • Call or video call a friend
  • Ask a friend or neighbour to leave some shopping outside your door
  • Order an online shop if you can
  • When you are shopping please only buy what you need

If you are sharing information with a resident who is not online, and they need support, they should call 0344 8008020. Please only call us if you aren't able to get the help you need online.

Look after your health and wellbeing

It is important that we stay physically and emotionally well during this time.

View our the Resilience at Home Guide for 10 tips to help your overall wellbeing.

For more tips and to get a personalised Mind Plan visit Every Mind Matters website.

If you're worried about your own mental health at this time you can call the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust 24/7 First Response freephone helpline on 0808 196 3494.

If you are concerned about the mental health of someone aged 0-25, please see the Just one Norfolk website. You don’t need a referral, you can get in touch straight away for advice and support.

Stay well

The best way to avoid catching COVID-19 is to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. Follow the NHS guidelines on good hand hygiene.
  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue and wash your hands or use an alcohol-based sanitiser gel.
  • Keep your distance from other people – at least 2 metres wherever possible.

If you have a new persistent cough or a high temperature, you must stay at home and away from other people for 7 days. If someone in your home has symptoms you should self-isolate for 14 days. Please see the stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection.

And remember, if you are very unwell or have symptoms that last longer than 7 days visit the NHS website, call NHS on 111.

Medicines

Please follow the below guidance about medicines during this time:

  • Before ordering medication, check on what medication you already have, and only order the items you really need. Do not seek to stockpile.
  • Order your prescription as normal, which should be 7 days in advance of running out.
  • Do not order early, or seek to over-order.
  • The supply chain is robust.
  • Collection/Delivery- is there anyone at all who can collect medication for you or is delivery offered?

Local businesses providing deliveries

Many local businesses are working tirelessly to provide food and other essentials to all residents while we practice social distancing, especially those who are self-isolating.

We have drawn up a list of businesses who are providing this extra support.

If you are a local business providing services during this time please email [email protected] so we can add you to our directory.

There is also an independent app which is available to download. (Please note, this is not provided by or run by the council)

Supermarket shopping options

Supermarkets and larger shops are offering dedicated shopping times for the elderly and vulnerable and for NHS workers.

We have also compiled information about the other services supermarkets are offering at this time.

General advice

The coronavirus outbreak is a rapidly evolving situation so it is important to make sure you stay up to date with the latest official advice.

We have been meeting with other Norfolk Resilience Forum partners - including other councils, NHS, and Police - to discuss the potential risks and impacts for our county and we are well-prepared to respond to any potential incident.

We wrote to all our district households at the end of March with advice about the support available to residents and businesses.

We will continue to review the situation and are following all advice from Public Health England. 

If you have any health concerns, check the NHS website for up-to-date advice and guidance, and for regular updates on travel information, symptoms and precautionary measures.

Latest Government advice

The Government has published its coronavirus action plan, which outlines what the health and social care system across the UK has done to tackle the outbreak, and what it plans to do next.

Regularly updated information for the public on the outbreak, including the current situation in the UK and advice about the virus and its symptoms, as well as statements from the Chief Medical Officer on confirmed cases in the UK.

Public Health England has produced a dashboard with information on confirmed cases of coronavirus.