Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, announces that vulnerable and disadvantaged young people across the country will receive free laptops to make remote education accessible for pupils staying at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

This week (Monday 20 April) the BBC is launching its own education package across TV and online, featuring celebrities and some of the best teachers – helping to keep children learning and supporting parents.

This is alongside new guidance published Sunday 19 April for parents on how best to support their child’s education and development.


Government to offer testing for “everyone who needs one” in social care settings

All care home residents and social care staff with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms will be tested as capacity is built up, the government has announced.


UK coronavirus rules relaxed for people with autism and learning disabilities

As reported in The Guardian and on the Department of Health and Social Care twitter feed.

People with learning disabilities or autism can leave the house for exercise more than once a day and can travel outside of their local area under current lockdown measures, the government has said.


Public Health England issue updated resource for looking after your mental health

As we have to stay at home it is important to take care of our mind as well as our body.

It is common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. It is OK to feel this way, share your concerns with others you trust or you could try a charity helpline or webchat. See more:

Public Health Resource for looking after your mental health


NHS asks people to share their coronavirus symptoms to help others

A new Coronavirus Status Checker that will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak has been launched by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.

People with potential coronavirus symptoms are now being asked to complete the status checker and answer a short series of questions which will tell the NHS about their experience.

For more information on the Coronavirus Status Checker, please visit the .gov website.



‘Shielding’ is for people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. We are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions (listed below), which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19), to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.


A statement from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

During this COVID-19 pandemic it is vitally important that patients and the public recognise that they must continue to seek medical assistance if they have symptoms which cause concern, or they already are being treated for a serious health condition. The risk of  developing other serious or life-threatening conditions remains unchanged and people must be fully confident that they can and should, seek medical assistance if they are worried about themselves or a relative.


Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus you must not meet anyone outside our household

You must not spend time with anyone outside of your household. Unfortunately, this includes any family or friends you don’t live with. Instead, you can phone, message, or video call online. Keeping in contact in this way is really important for your mental health.


Helping vulnerable people

A substantial network of NHS volunteers have been recruited to support the COVID-19 response in the BLMK area. If you or a dependent are considered to be a ‘vulnerable person’ (due to age or health condition) and have received a targeted letter from the NHS, here is a helpful link to register for help with accessing food or medication:


Supporting disabled people through the coronavirus outbreak

A joint statement from Justin Tomlinson MP, Helen Whately MP and Vicky Ford MP outlining how the government plans to support disabled people, their carers, and their families during the coronavirus outbreak.


Free parking in MK

Milton Keynes Council are generously offering free car parking in their on-street bays for anyone on the government’s key worker list, as well as NHS volunteers.


Bedfordshire Community Health Services

Bedfordshire Community Health Services have created a new website page for their Bedfordshire Services, and all the latest information regarding these services, during this outbreak, click on this link.


Bedfordshire Community Health Services have a centralised single point of access number for all Bedfordshire children’s services: 0300 555 0606.

The only exceptions to this are:

  • Community nursing and continuing care services: 01234 310103
  • Nutrition and dietetics service (for children and adults): 01582 707400
  • Parentline, our confidential text message service connecting parents and health visitors, will continue to be available to text on 07507 331456
  • ChatHealth, the confidential text messaging service for 11-19 year olds will continue to be available to text on 07507 331450


  • Acquired Brain Injury Service: 01582 709037
  • Neuro rehabilitation and early supported discharge stroke service: 01582 707651


Information for children

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust have produced a fact sheet to help children understand what Coronavirus is, the importance of hand washing and how to help stop the virus spreading.


Professional bodies’ response to government coronavirus advice for pregnant women to reduce social contact

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health reiterate that there is currently no new evidence to suggest that pregnant women are at greater risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) than other healthy individuals.

Read more about the precautionary measures.


Easy ready guide about the Coronavirus

This has been produced by Easy-Read-Online Limited based on “Advice on the coronavirus for places of education‘ from Public Health England.


How are charities and other organisations helping us during the Covid-19 Pandemic? 


Can you offer help as a volunteer during the Coronavirus outbreak?

There are number of ways you can do this. Across Central Bedfordshire, individuals, groups and organisations are getting involved in supporting those people who need assistance during these extraordinary times.

You could contact one of the Voluntary Sector organisations to register your interest.


Are you a Volunteer and worried or anxious, or want to offload a bit?

  • Bedfordshire Local Emergency Volunteers (BLEVEC) has set up a peer support service for volunteers from voluntary sector organisations involved in the coronavirus emergency. BLEVEC volunteers have good listening skills and are able to provide emotional support.