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.
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.
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.
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:
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 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.
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
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.
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:
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 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
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.
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?
- If you have cancer, it’s understandable you might be worried about coronavirus. Macmillan Cancer Support has the latest guidance.
- ELFT is offering a range of free and confidential talking therapies and specialist support through its Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service: www.bedfordshirewellbeingservice.nhs.uk or 01234 880400 – telephone line open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm – online link available 24/7.
- Epilepsy Action continue to update their epilepsy and coronavirus advice. The Epilepsy Action Helpline is still open to talk through your queries or worries on 0808 800 5050.
- ChildLine has produced a short video about depression for young people.
- The CAMHS service has a Cope-ometer to help younger children understand the link between stresses and mental health – but it applies to all of us!
- Food can affect your mood! There is a link between what we eat and how we feel so it’s important to have a healthy, balanced diet for both your body and mind. Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive. Try these sites for brain food on a budget:
- Coping as a keyworker – when you’re busy doing important work, it might not feel possible to take care of yourself. But even doing small things for yourself can make a big difference to your mental wellbeing, and there are lots of ideas you can try. National Mind now have a page dedicated to coping as a keyworker
- This is a particularly difficult time to be living with a gynaecological cancer, or to be experiencing any worrying symptoms. The Eve Appeal has developed a cancer and coronavirus information hub, so that people can access up to date and accurate information on gynaecological cancer pathways, from first investigation of symptoms through to follow up post treatment, as well as information on the national cervical screening programme. www.eveappeal.org.uk/coronavirus People can contact Ask Eve by emailing email@example.com or calling 0808 802 0019.
- Access Bedford have moved their Deaf Space Drop-in service online. It is still a FREE service. Watch the BSL video here. To access the service, click on this link and fill in the form, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org; the Access Bedford team will then email back and confirm a date and time for an online meeting with an NRCPD registered Interpreter via Zoom.
- Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service is still offering support, including CBT and counselling via Webex or telephone as usual. Anyone can self-refer via the website: www.bedfordshirewellbeingservice.nhs.uk
- Circle Integrated Care communication concerning running of services during the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Samaritans volunteers can continue going into branches. We know that social isolation will impact many people and our volunteers will now be able to continue to respond to the anticipated extra demand. Our free call number is 116 123. We are open 24 hrs. Email service also available (although response times maybe longer, but we do our best to reply within 24 hours) email@example.com
- Carers in Bedfordshire are still here for carers. They are still also accepting new referrals. Please call their telephone support service on 0300 111 1919 between 9.30am and 4.30pm, or visit their website.
- Independent Age local volunteers stepping up to support their older neighbours across the UK.
- Mind BLMK has announced its plans to adapt their current range of support for people and organisations across Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes during this current climate.
- Rethink Mental Illness has some advice for people severely affected by mental illness & their carers during the Covid-19 Pandemic: https://www.rethink.org/news-and-stories/blogs/2020/03/covid-19-advice-for-people-severely-affected-by-mental-illness-carers/
- Kooth is a free emotional support service for young people aged 11-18 years old https://www.kooth.com
- Support from the LGBT+ foundation – if you are feeling anxious, worried or stressed in this difficult time and need someone to talk to you, the
@LGBTfdn helpline is available to support you: 0345 3 30 30 30 http://lgbt.foundation
- Information on the virus from the Terence Higgins Trust giving guidance for people living with HIV, and answers to frequently asked questions from Dr Michael Brady: https://www.tht.org.uk/news/coronavirus-covid-19
- Diabetes UK has provided an updated information page for people living with diabetes.
- Asthma UK has released a blog post with advice for people with asthma.
- The British Heart Foundation has published guidance for people with health problems.
- The National Eczema Society has offered advice on handwashing techniquesfor people with eczema and other skin conditions.
- SignHealth has created British Sign Language (BSL) videos to help deaf BSL users either working in charities or receiving support.
- Carers UK has produced recommendations for carers.
- The Financial Conduct Authority has released information for consumers on personal loans, credit cards and overdrafts: https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/coronavirus-information-personal-loans-credit-cards-overdrafts?
- Housing Justice has issued specialised advice to homeless shelters. Glass Door is emphasising the importance of handwashing and has boosted their stock of hand gels kept in their vans that move between shelters. Pathway and Crisis have called on the government for guidance on how best to protect homeless people against coronavirus.
- Full Fact has generated a fact check page on covid-19 to help dispel any false information.
- The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Primary Immunodeficiency UK and the Mental Health Foundation have all issued advice and support.
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.
- Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charities (BRCC) run Good Neighbour Schemes across Central Bedfordshire and are always looking for additional support. Contact BRCC on 01234 838771, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Community Action Bedfordshire operate a volunteer bureau which matches people who want to help with a range of other groups and organisations.
- If you are either thinking of setting up a local support group, or have already done so, and need guidance and advice on volunteering, Community Services Bedfordshire will be happy to help you. Email: email@example.com
- Contact Central Bedfordshire Council to become a volunteer. Alternatively get in touch with the council by completing the online form.
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.