Coronavirus (COVID-19) - What you need to know
Helping yourself and others
Social-distancing and self-isolation can have a big impact on our wellbeing, especially our mental wellbeing. While many of us are feeling anxious or stressed, it’s really important we do all we can to look after our mental wellbeing. There are plenty of ideas and resources available to help:
Staying at home can be difficult for a lot of people. Public Health England have launched Every Mind Matters, which has some great advice on looking after your mental health while staying at home. The Mental Health Foundation and MIND also have some great advice on looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak.
If you’re feeling stress and anxiety now or at any time, using self-help-help resources can help you understand and manage your wellbeing. The NHS website has a lot of advice on self-help and guidance to look after your mental wellbeing.
See also our longer list of resources to support children and young people:
Getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult if you’re worrying or feeling anxious, but it’s very important for good mental health. Implementing a positive night-time routine is essential and could include:
- Minimising screen time on your phone, computer or TV before bed
- Listening to something calming such as music or the Head Space app before you go to sleep
- Minimising how much you watch/read about COVID-19 as this might cause you to feel more anxious and your body may not be able to rest
Did you know that what you eat has an impact on your mental wellbeing? When you’re stressed it can be easy to forget about heating healthily or drinking enough water.
However, certain food types and drinks could make us feel even lower and contribute to our stress levels even more. Take a look at this great guide from MIND on eating well for good mental health.
Physical health and mental health are closely tied together, so in order to stay well we need to look after both. Any form of exercise can be good for your mental health as it:
- Helps you sleep – as you feel more tired at the end of the day
- Improves your mood – physical activity releases feel-good hormones that give you more energy and increase positivity
- Helps you manage stress, anxiety or negative thoughts – it release chemicals that help reduce stress, but also gives your brain a rest by taking your mind of your worries.
Connecting with others
Self-isolation can leave many people feeling lonely, so staying connected is really important. Any form of positive connection is vital for good wellbeing, so consider these things when connecting to others:
- Stay connected to people anyway you can, via email, social media, video calling or telephone. Can you use video rather than telephone so you can physical see how people are?
- Can you make those conversations fun and light-hearted, perhaps avoiding discussions around Covid-19? Some people are running quizzes, having virtual tea parties or talking about the positive things our communities are doing.
- Is there someone you know who you haven’t checked in with yet? Try and keep in touch with those who have less support.
Looking out for others
Coronavirus is affecting everyone, so now is also a time to look out for of our friends, families, neighbours and people in our communities:
- Take the time to check-in on any vulnerable family, friends and neighbours. Sometimes just asking how you can help or assisting with shopping can make a big difference.
- Check-in on those around you. Self-isolation can be a very lonely and difficult experience for many, so calling or texting those around you might help reduce feelings of isolation.
The NHS remains 'open for business' despite the extra pressure on services caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
It's important to be aware of the following points:
- If you need medical help, the NHS is still here for you.
- If you need medical help from your GP practice, contact them either online, by an app or by phone to be assessed.
- If you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service. If you cannot get help online, call 111.
- If it’s a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 999.
- If you are told to go to hospital it is important that you go to hospital.
- You should continue to attend your appointments, unless you have been told not to attend.
- You can order your repeat prescriptions on the NHS App and through your GP surgery or pharmacy’s online service, where available.
- If you need to collect a prescription and have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating at home, please arrange for a friend, relative or volunteer to collect for you.
- To help us to keep supplying medicines to everyone who needs them, please only order repeat prescriptions in your usual quantities at the usual time.
- It is important that you or your baby or child still have routine vaccinations. They protect against serious and potentially deadly illnesses and stop outbreaks in the community.
- If the person needing vaccination has coronavirus symptoms or is self-isolating because someone in the household is displaying symptoms, please contact your GP practice for advice.
- If you have a symptom that you are worried about, you must contact your GP Practice.
- Your clinician will discuss with you the benefits of starting or continuing your cancer treatment against the increased risks of contracting coronavirus.
Heart attack patients
- If you think you or a family member are suffering with the symptoms of a heart attack you must dial 999 immediately.
- If you or a family member develop symptoms such as heavy or tight chest pain that may spread to your arms, neck or jaw, or make you breathless, sick, sweaty or light-headed and that doesn’t go away, this could be caused by a heart attack. Dial 999 immediately.
- If you think you or a family member are suffering with the symptoms of a stroke you must dial 999 immediately.
- You can spot the symptoms of a stroke by using the FAST test:
- Face - is the face drooping / fallen on one side? Can they smile?
- Arms - can they raise both arms and keep them there?
- Speech - is it slurred?
- Time to call 999 if you see any of the above signs
- If you are pregnant it is important that you still attend your antenatal appointments and continue to seek advice from your midwife or maternity team.
- If you are worried about your health or the health of your unborn baby, please contact your midwife or maternity team.
Parents of young children
- If you are worried about the health of your baby or child, please call 111.
- If it’s a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 999.
- The NHS is there to support your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as your physical health.
- If you are concerned about the mental health of your child, please contact your GP or check online self-referral options for under 18 years olds on the NHS website.
- If you are facing mental health issues contact your GP or key worker, if you have one, and continue to access your mental health services as usual. We are also still open for new referrals, via your GP or online.
- If you’re experiencing stress and anxiety, you can get further information, including how to self-refer to psychological therapies on the NHS website.
- If you are facing a mental health crisis, use the NHS 111 online service. If you cannot get help online, call 111.
Learning disability and autism
- If you need medical help reasonable adjustments will be made so you get the right care and support.
- Your local community teams and crisis support lines are available if you are worried or anxious.
Urgent eye care
- Primary Eye Care provides NHS funded urgent eyecare services across Swindon. The services are available from local opticians.
The information below aims to tell you what charity services are available during the coronavirus pandemic and how to access them.
Community meals service is still operating - a two-course hot meal delivered seven days a week for £6.50 a meal. You can contact them on 0808 196 2424 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Our Dementia Connect support line remains open on 0333 150 3456. You can access their online community, Talking Point, through the website. All face-to-face and group services are suspended.
You can contact the Swindon branch on 01793 485404 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Providing advice by telephone and e-mail on 03444 994114 and email@example.com. All drop-in sessions and face-to-face appointments suspended until further notice.
British Red Cross
Free coronavirus support line available on 0808 196 3651 to provide practical and emotional support. Can also provide contact details of local organisations that can help with accessing food or medicine. The support line is available every day between 10.00am and 6.00pm.
All events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. They have launched Trading Through Coronavirus to provide guidance and support on COVID-19 for businesses, employers and employees in the region.
Providing young people with advice and advocacy support by phone or video and other messaging apps. You can contact their advocacy helpline free on 0808 800 5792 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 6.00pm and Saturday 10.00am to 4.00pm).
Providing telephone support on 01793 619933.
All face-to-face sessions to be run by phone, text and e-mail. All group sessions are cancelled. Phone 07554 665715 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
All courses and activities are suspended. Operating a limited advice service via phone/text and email. Contact details: 07870 643734 (telephone or text, call back available) or e-mail email@example.com.
Continuing to support Direct Payment clients, employers and personal assistants through their existing contact channels. Contact details for Swindon are 01264 345862 or DirectPaymentsSwindon@enhamtrust.org.uk. The care homes have been closed to external visitors, and the cafes and charity shop are also closed.
Drop-in sessions cancelled. Urgent help available by phone or e-mail on 07541 574 107 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plan to offer a remote support service to their clients. Currently developing ideas for a range of activities that can be offered remotely. Phone 01793 674820.
Staff and volunteers are working from home and all face-to-face meetings have been cancelled.
They are still able to pick up phone messages from the usual Healthwatch number, 01793 497777, e-mails to email@example.com and contact through social media. Opening times are Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm.
All programmes have been adapted to be delivered online. Phone 07531 473482.
Group work has stopped but support provided through website and social media.
Staff are working from home and holding meetings over the phone or video conferencing, rather than face-to-face. Phone 0117 961 6840 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continuing to provide care and support to local children and families in their homes. Stopped hospice respite care sessions for the foreseeable future. Assessing end of life referrals on a case-by-case basis as resources allow. All their shops are now closed. Phone 01380 562525 or contact online.
Continuing existing telephone befriending service.
Closed until further notice.
Youth clubs closed, but offering telephone support. E-mail email@example.com and they will call back.
Currently closed. Service users can access a support worker on 07379 308610.
Still providing telephone support on 0330 555 0310, 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday. All face-to-face community services have stopped, but are continuing to support the community with welfare/companionship telephone calls and by delivering essential food and medication. Local contact number is 07342 076383.
Providing telephone support on 116 123 (free from any phone) day or night, 365 days a year. Can also be contacted on 0330 094 5717 (local call charges apply). Currently unable to offer face-to-face service.
Main office closed and all direct contact/group sessions with children and young people temporarily suspended. Providing regular links/tips and where to find support through the links page on the STEPS website and the Friends of STEP Facebook page. You can contact them by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Providing support by phone and digital channels. Call the helpline number 0303 3033 100 or e-mail email@example.com.
Providing telephone support from their wellbeing teams, but all groups, one-to-one sessions and training are cancelled. You can contact them on 01793 432031 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Offering service remotely via telephone and online video calling services. You can contact them on 01793 542575 to speak to an advocate. All face-to-face sessions cancelled indefinitely.
Phone support available on 01793 531133. Carer groups and activities have been cancelled until further notice.
Also providing an informal IT technical support hotline for registered carers through Avagio IT Services, to support with using social media/video, staying safe online and setting up online shopping services. You can contact Avagio from 9.00am to 5.00pm on 01249 470148 or by e-mail to email@example.com.
Providing support by phone and e-mail. All groups have been postponed. Phone 07903 167142 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Providing telephone support on 0808 800 0303. All respite, exercise classes, coffee mornings, committee meetings and AGM have been cancelled.
No longer seeing clients face-to-face, but continuing to offer telephone counselling on 07473 207217.
Closed until further notice.
National helplines, e-mail, text and live chat support services are open as usual. Swindon helpline: 01793 610610, national helpline: 0808 2000 247.
Currently closed to visitors and all activity sessions are suspended.
Offering emotional and practical support to victims of crime (whether it has been reported to the police or not) through phone and e-mail support. Contact details: 0808 281 0113.
Drop-in centre is closed. Taking volunteer enquiries by e-mail on email@example.com.
Main office is closed until further notice. Unable to provide meeting rooms, printing, training, or DBS.
VAS is coordinating 'Compassionate Swindon', so the website has information about the scheme and the coronavirus response funds that voluntary groups can apply to. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continuing their home security service for older and vulnerable people throughout Wiltshire, but not giving any talks to community groups. You can contact them on 01380 861155.
The Staying Safe Online team are providing telephone advice on 01380 861191, but will not be doing home visits until further notice.
Office is closed. Phone advice available. If your call goes to answer phone, leave a message to receive a call back. Phone 01793 486926 or e-mail email@example.com.
Providing support and advice by telephone and e-mail on 01380 723682 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All drop-ins, socials, one-to-one face-to-face sessions and home visits are suspended until further notice.
Providing bereavement support to parents, children and young people over the phone and online. Phone 01793 987105 or 07493 509750 or e-mail email@example.com.
For parents and teachers with children learning from home, there are lots of resources and activity ideas available, to keep them entertained and learning during lockdown
- Tips on returning to school - In this short film, Dr Jess Richardson, principal clinical psychologist (National & Specialist CAMHS and Maudsley), provides straightforward, important suggestions for parents and teachers to deal with any potential apprehension or anxiety children may experience on returning to school.
- The National Literacy Trust Website: Family Zone - The National Literacy Trust has put together some ideas for activities you can do with your children depending on their age, and will be continually updated. You need an account to access resources, but the basic level account is free and gives you access to all of the activity ideas.
- The National Literacy Trust Website: Small Talk - This gives practical ways in which you can support your child through ‘Chat’ ‘Play’ and ‘Read’ activities. This is also broken into appropriate activities to support your child, depending on their age.
- Learning 4 Kids - This includes lots of practical, hands-on things you can do at home for 3-4 year olds.
- How to make play dough on YouTube
- Twinkl Early Years Home Learning Hub - A wealth of home learning activities and resources.
- The Communication Trust - Resources for developing children’s speaking and listening skills.
- Fun learning for kids - Fun activities for children to do indoors.
- Oxford Owl - Lots of fun ideas to help your children learn.
- Kidspot - Fifty favourite play-based learning activities chosen by parents.
- Teach your child to read website
- Dr Ranj of ‘Get well Soon’ - An episode around coronavirus for children.
- Chatter Pack - A comprehensive list of home-learning resources for all age groups.
- Wabisabi Learning - A list of terrific STEM project-based learning activities for teachers and home-schooling parents.
- STEM learning - Free home learning resources for primary to post-16.
- BBC Bitesize -The BBC Learning suite of activity sites, with links to much more (pre-school to post-16).
- Audible - Free audio books.
- Sparkle Box - Thousands of free printable resources for primary school teachers, parents and others who work with children.
- Twinkl Home Learning Hub - Home school resources, printables, book readings, live lessons and positive news updated daily.
- Chatter Pack - List of free speech, language, communication and SEN resources for schools and parents and carers.
- Do2Learn - Resources for learning at home including fine motor skill development, language development and visual discrimination.
- SEN Teacher - Teaching resources that are free to share and use at school and at home.
- Books beyond - Reading support for all SEN.
- Simultaneous oral spelling - Multi-sensory spelling techniques.
- Spelling support strategies - Synthetic phonics approach to spelling.
- Disability Matters - A free e-Learning resource for the UK workforce.
- Cosmic Kids - Offering yoga, mindfulness and relaxation, designed especially for children aged 3+. It is used in schools and homes all over the world.
- Joe Wickes Body Coach - Workouts for all ages at home.
- Disability Sport Swindon - Socially distant exercises to keep you active at home.
- Drama Geezers - Drama games every day.
- Coronovarius: a book for children aged 5-9 - A free information book explaining the coronavirus to children, illustrated by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler.
- Swindon Speech and language therapy - Resources for specific activities to do at home.
- Coronavirus social story - Coronavirus social story for children to help ease their anxiety.
- Carol Grey Social Stories - The best resource for free social stories – sign up for free.
- Social Contact - How to safely avoid social contact.
- Our school is closing for a while - Why we're at home and what we can do there.
- Kooth - Online counselling for young people.
- Anna Freud - Supporting young people's mental health.
- Mencap easy read Coronavirus latest guidelines
- 'Dave the Dog is worried about Coronavirus' - Free book to download providing information without fear.
- Anna Freud - 7 ways to support children and young people who are worried.
- Nip in the Bud - short films and fact sheets to help parents, primary school teachers and others caring for and working with children to recognise potential mental health conditions.
- Family Links - Excellent support for families of all ages.
- Children's Coronavirus factsheet
- Education psychologist support and advice for Coronavirus
- Free downloads for parents - Family links have some amazing resources for parents to download on choices and consequences, making family rules, time to calm down and active ignoring. They also have activities to do and printable kindness charts.
- Thinkuknow - Helps parents, carers, teachers and others keep children safe from sexual abuse, offering learning activities, advice and support for children and young people aged 4-18 and their families.
During the coronavirus pandemic, it is now more important than ever to quit smoking.
Due to the current pressure placed on services, normal stop smoking services may not be available. However, there are still online and telephone support services available to help you.
ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) are leading the #QuitforCovid campaign. There are many health and financial benefits to quitting smoking, but now more than ever quitting means you can:
- Reduce the likelihood of complications from COVID-19
- Protect the health of others. Exposure to second hand smoke also increases the risk of complications from respiratory infections.
- Reduce the burden on the NHS. Stopping smoking brings immediate health benefits particularly to the heart and lungs.
Visit Today is the Day for more information on smoking and coronavirus.
There is also a Twitter account @QuitforCovid which has been set up to support people to stop smoking. Every day between 7.30pm and 8.30pm a quit clinic is hosted by a health expert to provide advice and support for people who would like to quit.
Why is it important?
- Emerging evidence from China has revealed that smokers with COVID-19 are 14 times more likely to develop severe respiratory disease.
- Smoking tobacco is known to damage the lungs and airways causing a range of severe respiratory problems.
- The evidence clearly shows COVID-19 virus attacks the respiratory system, which explains why smokers are at greater risk.
- In addition, the repetitive hand-to-mouth movement provides an easy route of entry for the virus, putting smokers at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
Useful links and resources:
Getting access to food can be difficult during the Coronavirus outbreak, especially for people who have to shield or self-isolate. Below, you can find a list of businesses that are offering a range of food and meal delivery services.
Home meal deliveries:
- The COOK Kitchen - A wide range of gourmet frozen meals for home delivery. Home delivery slots are available for people ‘at risk’, self-isolating or working for the NHS. Minimum order for delivery is £35, and home delivery is free of charge for orders over £85. You can order online or by calling 01732 759000 between 9.00am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday, and 9.00am and 1.00pm on Saturday.
- Parsley Box - A range of cupboard stored meals (no fridge or freezer required) delivered straight to your door and ready to eat within minutes. Express delivery available and no subscription required. Order online or by phone on 0800 6127225.
- Oakhouse Foods - With a choice of nearly 400 frozen meals, which includes meals to suit a variety of dietary needs. Using no-contact delivery as a standard method for deliveries. Order online or by phone on 0333 370 6700.
- Wiltshire Farm Foods - Delivering frozen meals, with over 300 dishes to choose from. They also have a priority helpline for those who are extremely vulnerable. Order online or by phone on 0800 077 3100.
- Age UK community hot meals - Service deliverting lunchtime meals to homes, specifically created for older people living in Wiltshire and Swindon. They will bring you a hot, freshly prepared midday meal and dessert for £6.50 per meal. Phone 0808 196 2424 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Stratton Juniors - Distributing free meals to the elderly and vulnerable in the community. Providing a meal service of a main meal and dessert from a standard menu. Anyone who would like to use this service should contact Paul on 07587 003990 or e-mail email@example.com.
Fruit/veg boxes and groceries:
- The Core - Providing fruit and/or vegetable boxes to customers and providing boxes to vulnerable and those struggling to meet cost. Boxes delivered to customers doors. A range of vegan meals is also available for delivery. Also providing free bottles of juice to the hospital on a daily basis. You can order online via the website.
- Wiltshire Fruit and Veg Ltd - A local, family run fruit and veg business that delivers fresh produce. Range of boxes available to order, which include fruit, vegetables, milk, eggs and cheese, as well as meat boxes. Delivery is free to all areas in Wiltshire. Order online or phone 01380 502498.
- Heritage Fine Foods - Fresh produce company with a range of home delivery boxes available, which include fruit and vegetables, bread, dairy, meat and a range of kitchen cupboard items. Currently delivering Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Order online or phone 01380 860968.
- Marks and Spencer food boxes - A range of fruit, vegetable or meat boxes are available to order online for delivery. A classic meal box of prepared meals is also available. Maximum order is two boxes of each type per customer.
- Morrisons food boxes - Range of boxes including meat or vegetarian groceries together with household essentials to order online. Prices from £35, plus delivery charge of £5.
- Helen Browning’s Royal Oak Farm Shop - Range of organic food boxes to order online for delivery in the local area (currently only available in SN1-7 and OX12 postcodes). Ready meals are also available, but are only available for collection.
- JoJo’s Dairy - Lotmead Farm, Swindon - currently selling 1L and 2L bottles of milk. Open between 8.00am and 9.00am and again between 5.00pm and 7.00pm. Can pre-order via online shop - collection only.
- Gateway Church - Opening a temporary food collective (food bank) distribution point to assist during the Covid-19 crisis. Currently only able to provide non-perishable food. Open 10.00am to 12 noon every Saturday. Phone 01793 526130.
Please avoid bonfires during the outbreak. Our Environmental Health Officers will be investigating reports of bonfires during this period.
Supporting our waste crews
Our waste teams are currently doing their best to keep as many collections running as possible. You can help us by:
- sorting your recycling in different types within your recycling box to speed up collections
- if you have COVID-19 or are self-isolating, follow our advice on how to not spread the virus to our crews
- downloading our thank you key workers colouring sheet and stick it in your front window, or on your recycling box and bin. Upload a photo of your creation to Facebook or Twitter and don't forget to tag us.
Reducing your waste
With the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) closed, you can help by:
- storing any DIY and garden waste you would usually take to the HWRC until it opens again
- reduce food waste by cooking and buying only what you need
- leave lawn clippings on your grass to reduce garden waste
Unfortunately, scammers and rogue traders will always prey on people’s fears. and scams linked to coronavirus are emerging. While none have yet been reported in Swindon, we encourage people to stay vigilant and look out for each other to avoid anyone becoming a victim of a scam.
Potential coronavirus scams include:
- Bogus doorstep calls offering shopping services or taking funding for a vaccine
- Phone calls asking for money or offering money in relation to coronavirus
- E-mails offering investment schemes, coronavirus information or financial support, often looking like government departments like HMRC
- Overpricing for products in short supply
- Loan sharks looking to take advantage of people in difficult financial situations
Reports of domestic abuse have increased nationally during the coronavirus lockdown.
Anyone suffering from domestic abuse can seek support from the council or the police, who will make sure that person is safe.
If you, someone you know, or someone you know of is experiencing domestic abuse, help is always available. In an emergency, always dial 999. If it is not an emergency, you can contact the Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service 24-hour helpline on 01793 610610, or call Wiltshire Police on 101.
If you need help urgently, but are too scared or unable to make a noise or speak, you can:
- Dial 999
- Listen to the questions from the 999 operator
- Respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can
- If prompted, press 55. This lets the 999 call operator know it's a genuine emergency
During the lockdown, you will be able to access safer spaces at Boots pharmacies consultation rooms, where you can contact specialist domestic abuse services for support and advice. For more information on this part of the new 'UK SAYS NO MORE' campaign, visit the Hestia website.
The Government has outlined a series of measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, which will protect the NHS and save lives.
At this time, our housing repairs team is only taking requests for urgent repairs (for example, leaks, blocked toilets or electrical faults). If you have any minor repairs that need fixing, we have a number of how-to videos that may be able to help you resolve these issues yourself.
We have been working with Swindon SEND Families Voice during the pandemic to answer a set of frequently asked questions supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
Answers to the FAQs include, for example, advice and guidance on how best to support well-being and updates specifically in relation to service delivery.
The FAQs will continue to be updated on the Swindon Local Offer website.
If you are on a prepayment meter for your gas or electricity, and are having difficulty adding credit because of being confined to your home or for financial reasons, then there is help available. The Warm & Safe Wiltshire advice service can discuss all the options available, including fuel vouchers and extra support from energy suppliers for people in this situation. They can also help anyone needing advice on managing their energy bills, regardless of payment method.
For further information, contact Warm & Safe Wiltshire on Freephone 0800 038 5722 or visit the Warm & Safe Wiltshire website.