COVID-19 – Help and Support
As a country, we need to come together and ensure that the implications of COVID-19 do not result in anybody being left behind. There are some amazing community groups currently operating in our constituency to aid the most vulnerable in society. Government advice and information, including for services provided by local authorities, is also available for anybody who may need it.
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. The symptoms of the disease which are requiring people to stay at home are a high temperature and a new and continuous cough. If you have any of these symptoms, please stay at home. Do not go to a GP surgery, hospital or pharmacy.
There is no need to ring NHS 111 if you are staying at home. Use of the number is encouraged, however, if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, your condition gets worse or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days.
The following information has been taken from the NHS website which I am encouraging everyone to take note of.
COVID-19 Information and Resources
NHS and Protecting Yourself
- For the latest NHS guidance please go to www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
- Current Government self-isolation guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection can be found here.
- Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) should arrange to have a test to see if they have COVID-19. Go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/ for information on getting a test and understanding your result.
- For information on the Government’s test and trace service, please click here.
- For NHS information on the Coronavirus vaccine, please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/
- Local coronavirus information, including details about rapid community testing, can be found on Newham Council’s website – https://www.newham.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19
Social Distancing and Lockdown Restrictions
- National lockdown rules currently apply to England. You must stay at home.
- You must not leave your home, except where necessary. Exceptions include if you are leaving your home to shop for basic necessities or to go to work if you cannot reasonably do so from home.
- For the full information on the lockdown rules, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
- Businesses providing essential goods and services may stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. This includes supermarkets and pharmacies. Full information on the current status of different businesses and venues across England can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
- Places of worship remain open for services. You must not mix with anyone outside of your household or support bubble when attending. Please click here for more information about places of worship.
- Face coverings in England are now compulsory by law in a number of settings. The full list of settings, along with other information regarding face coverings, can be found here.
- If you are defined on medical grounds as clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19, you should have received a letter confirming this or have been told directly by your GP or hospital clinician.
- The Government is advising that, under new lockdown restrictions, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should follow resumed shielding guidance. You should not attend work, school, college or university and try to limit the time you spend outside your home to essential reasons only. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19#further-advice-at-tier-4-stay-at-home for full information.
Support if you are shielding
- You are advised not to go to the shops. Use online shopping if you can, or ask others to collect and deliver shopping for you. NHS Volunteer Responders can help with shopping needs or collecting prescriptions.
- You can register for support if you are clinically extremely vulnerable to Coronavirus. You can use this service to ask for priority access to supermarket deliveries, and ask your local authority to contact you about local support available. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support
- You can also contact your local council directly at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-local-help
- Coronavirus support for vulnerable and high risk people by Newham Council can be found at https://www.newham.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-support-vulnerable-high-risk-people/1
- For full information on work and financial support, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/worker-support
- If you are still employed but do not currently have work due to COVID-19, the Government will be providing grants to employers to cover 80% of employees’ salaries as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, up to £2500 per month. You must have been employed and on payroll on 30 October 2020. The scheme will end on 30 April 2021. Visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-employed-and-cannot-work for more information.
- If your income is reduced as a result of coronavirus closures or your employer has less hours for you, you may be able to claim Universal Credit or New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) alongside it, provided you meet eligibility requirements. Click here for detail.
- If you have lost your job due to coronavirus, you may be able to claim Universal Credit, JSA or Pension Credit. You can find more information and eligibility at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-you-were-employed-and-have-lost-your-job
- Please visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit for full information on applying for Universal Credit.
If you are employed but cannot work because you are self-isolating, shielding or cannot work from home
- If you need to self-isolate and your employer requires evidence, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting 111.nhs.uk/covid-19. DO NOT call NHS 111.
You may be able to claim:
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit – if you and your partner have reached state pension age and earn less than £265.20 per week (£173.75 for single people)
- Test and Trace Support payment of £500
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for everyday you miss work due to coronavirus. If you work in the ‘gig’ economy or on a zero-hours contract, you need to check with your employer if you are entitled to SSP. You cannot claim SSP if you are on furlough.
- New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you aren’t entitled to SSP. You may be able to claim if you have a disability or health condition which affects how much you can work, or if you are directly affected by coronavirus. This would include you or your child having coronavirus, self-isolating or shielding.
You may be able to claim multiple at once. You cannot claim ESA alongside SSP or JSA. Please go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-employed-and-cannot-work for full detail.
- If you are self-employed and getting less or no work due to coronavirus, you may be entitled to a Test and Trace support Payment, New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Universal Credit or Pension credit. Go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-self-employed-and-getting-less-work-or-no-work for more detail.
- There is also specific guidance for self-employed people claiming Universal Credit.
- The next set of self-assessment tax payments due by July 31 have been deferred to 31 January 2021.
- If you are struggling to pay your tax bill on time, click here for information about your options, including Time To Pay Arrangements.
You may be entitled to a third grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) if you have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
On the 26 March 2020, the Chancellor announced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This enabled self-employed people to claim for 80% of their profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the three months from 1 March 2020. SEISS is open to businesses with profits of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or average annual profits of less than £50,000 from 2016 to 2019. To qualify, more than half of a person’s income must have come from self-employment during these periods.
If you were not eligible for the first and second grant based on the information in your Self Assessment tax returns, you will not be eligible for the third.
The third taxable grant is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.
If you are eligible, you must apply for third grant on or before 29 January 2021. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme for full information about eligibility and applying.
- For full information on support for businesses and self-employed people during the coronavirus pandemic, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support
- Full a full list of financial support schemes your business may be eligible for, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.
- Alternatively, use this business support finder to see what support is available to you and your business.
- If your business had to close as a result of national restrictions in place as of 5 January 2021, you may be eligible for a one-off grant of up to £9,000. Go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-your-business-is-eligible-for-a-coronavirus-grant-due-to-national-restrictions-for-closed-businesses for full information.
- If you run a business or are self-employed and need guidance on paying taxes contact the HMRC Coronavirus helpline on 0800 024 1222 or on webchat, open Monday – Friday 8am-4pm.
Education and Childcare
- Schools and colleges will remain open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers during the lockdown. These children can also continue to use registered childcare, childminders and other childcare activities. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision for full information.
- All other pupils and children will learn remotely from home until February half-term.
- Regarding childcare, parents and carers can continue to access early years settings and form childcare bubbles with one other household, where the child is under 14. Visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-a-childcare-bubble-with-another-household for more information about childcare bubbles.
- University students on certain courses requiring face to face teaching should return to university and be tested twice upon arrival OR self-isolate for 10 days. All other students should remain home and study online until February half-term. Go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/students-returning-to-higher-education-from-spring-term for further guidance on returning to university.
- There are some provisions in place to support children and families in need to access technology necessary for remote, online learning. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-technology-for-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19
- The Government has confirmed that GCSE, A Level and AS Level exams will not take place this summer. The Government has stated it is working with Ofqual to put in place alternative arrangements for exam results. Click here for full details.
- Public exams and vocational assessments are still scheduled to go ahead as planned.
- The Government has said support is in place to ensure children eligible for free school meals will continue to receive them while the schools are closed. Please go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools for further information.
All education and childcare related guidance can be found here. Additionally, you can call the Department for Education’s Coronavirus hotline on 0800 046 8687 which is open Monday-Friday 8am-6pm.
- Borrowers who have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be able to apply for a holiday for up to 6 months, until 31 March 2021. Borrowers who have already had or are on a payment holiday will be able to ‘top-up’ to a total of six months of payment holidays.
- It is important to note that mortgage holidays are not automatic, and you will need to apply with your lender to work out your individual eligibility.
- Many banks are also offering help with loans and debt, such as payment holidays or waiving fees for missed payments. You should check with your bank for more information.
Paying your Bills
- If you are struggling to top up a standard credit or pre-paid energy meter, contact your supplier. Many are offering support to those in financial distress. Your supply will not be cut off if you are on a credit meter.
- You can join the Priority Service Register with your energy supplier if you are a vulnerable customer. For full information on eligibility and benefits, please visit https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/consumers/household-gas-and-electricity-guide/extra-help-energy-services/priority-services-register-people-need
- You may also be able to get financial help with water bills during the pandemic. If you have immediate issues, you should contact your water company as soon as possible.
- If you are receiving benefit payments and are in financial difficulty, you can have some of your bills, including fuel and water bills, paid directly out of your benefit payments. Go to https://www.gov.uk/bills-benefits for further information.
For a more in-depth guide about paying bills and debts during the coronavirus crisis, including credit card and loan repayments, please visit https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/uk-coronavirus-help-and-your-rights/#energy
If you are struggling to pay the rent during this time, speak to your landlord as soon as possible to let them know of your situation and work out a repayment plan.
Current protocols for social landlords dealing with rent arrears will also now apply to private landlords. This is to help resolve disputes between landlords and tenants, avoiding eviction wherever possible.
- Until at least 31 March 2021, landlords must provide tenants with a minimum of six months notice if they plan to begin eviction proceedings, except in serious cases.
- The ban on eviction proceedings expired on 20 September 2020. Landlords can now begin to progress their possession claims through the courts.
- However, eviction eviction notices cannot be served until 11 January 2021 at the earliest. With the 14 day notice period required, no evictions are able to be enforced until 25 January 2021 at the earliest.
Help with paying your rent
- The Government can support rental costs through Universal Credit. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/housing-and-universal-credit for more information.
- If you require additional support to pay your rent, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). Contact your local council to find out more.
- Landlords are able to apply for a 6 month mortgage holiday if they are facing financial difficulty due to coronavirus, up until 31 March 2021. Apply with your lender to discuss eligibility and terms and conditions.
- If you are worried about paying your rent, advice is available from specialist providers including Shelter, Citizens Advice and the Money Advice Service.
Further guidance for landlords and tenants in private and social rented sectors during COVID-19 can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-landlords-and-tenants#rent-and-mortgage-payments
- International travel is increasingly restricted. In England, under new lockdown rules, you must not leave home to travel abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so, such as for essential work purposes. If you are legally permitted to travel, extended information for before, during and after travelling can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
- The latest travel advice and information for individual foreign countries can be found at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
- Upon return to the UK you must provide your journey and contact details. There are varied rules on 14-day isolation upon return to England, depending on the country you are arriving from. Passengers arriving from countries within the ‘travel corridor’ will not need to self-isolate on their return. This is under constant review, so continue to check https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors for any new updates.
- If you are abroad and it is not possible to return to the UK, follow the local guidance on social distancing and lockdown measures. Guidance on what to do if you are waiting to return to the UK can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-where-you-are-if-you-cannot-return-to-the-uk
- If you have visa concerns, contact local immigration authorities or their UK based embassy. Government guidance for visa applicants is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents
Insurance and MOT
- Check your existing health, life and income protection insurance policies to see if they are affected by coronavirus. Critical illness cover will likely not apply to coronavirus. It may only be eligible if you develop a serious illness as a consequence of Coronavirus. Check with your insurance company for their specific policies.
- New accident, sickness or unemployment cover is now more difficult to get under current circumstances. It is likely you will be asked additional COVID-19 related questions, and an exclusion may be applied to prevent any covid-19 related claims. It will vary between providers so check with individual lenders to decide which policy is best for you.
If you are struggling to pay your insurance premiums, you should speak to your provider to discuss your options. Many lenders have put measures in place to support those in financial difficulty, such as reassessing the level of cover in a policy, agreeing a repayment plan, and waiving or reducing interest.
Please visit this website for more information regarding insurance premiums. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/uk-coronavirus-help-and-your-rights/#insurance
- If you are driving much less due to lockdown restrictions, you can check with your insurance provider if you can change your car insurance policy to save money. This could include reducing estimated annual mileage. Insurance policies will vary, so check with your provider for specific information and terms and conditions.
- Drivers who had an MOT due from Monday 30 March 2020 until and including 31 July 2020 will have an automatic six month extension on this. If your MOT was due on 31 July 2020 it will now expire on 31 January 2021, for example. This applies to cars, motorcycles, light vans and other light vehicles.
- Full local information on Coronavirus can be found on the Newham Council website at https://www.newham.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19 This includes information for residents, updates on local service disruptions and volunteering opportunities.
- There is help available to those struggling to pay their Council Tax. Call 020 8430 2000 for more information or visit https://www.newham.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/council-tax-benefits-welfare/1
- Newham Council is providing support for vulnerable and high risk people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full information is available at https://www.newham.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-support-vulnerable-high-risk-people/1
Local support available across Newham includes:
General Covid-19 support such as self-isolation advice; staying safe; legal advice, and assistance accessing online shopping:
Newham Covid-19 Helpline – Call 020 7473 9711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (9am-7pm, 7 days a week).
Assistance with buying or collecting food and prescriptions offline or for assistance getting to medical appointments:
NHS Volunteers Service www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/services Call 0808 196 3646 (8am-8pm, 7 days a week).
Support for those with financial challenges affecting access to food, including loss of income, benefits issues or no recourse to public funds:
Newham Food Alliance www.newham.gov.uk/newhamfoodalliance
email@example.com or Call 07790 975086 (9am-12pm weekdays).
Befriending and support with loneliness:
Chat Newham – Call 0808 196 3510 (10am-4pm weekdays)
Questions about council services: Newham Council Contact Centre: 020 8430 2000 Textphone: 18001 020 8430 2000 (9am-5pm, weekdays).
Support for those suffering domestic or sexual violence can call Newham Hestia on 0808 196 1482. The phone line is staffed 24 hours a day to provide free and confidential advice over the phone.
If you are in immediate danger you should call 999. If you are unable to speak for fear of being heard, you can still dial 999 and once connected press ‘55’ to silently alert the police.
Voluntary Sector in the Constituency
- Listed below is information about voluntary sector organisations who can offer support during this pandemic.
SUBCO Trust Upton Park– supporting Asian and BME elders.
- Welfare telephone and video calls and an Advice Advocacy and Information Service to vulnerable adults and their carers
- Essential shopping delivery service
- Asian meals delivery service
- Visit https://www.subcotrust.uk for more information.
- Alternatively, contact firstname.lastname@example.org via email or call 0208 548 0070
Aston Mansfield – supporting children and families
- Breakfast club and after school provision for children of key workers. This will be at Manor Park out of the Froud Centre. Contact Loyda.best@aston-Mansfield.org.uk
- Youth services will be continued via online services and resources. Contact Yokeu.email@example.com
- Volunteer support and engagement continued via volunteer officer. Contact Denise.allen@aston-Mansfield.org.uk
- Social media campaign on how to keep children entertained during lockdown and promoting general positivity
- Offering a platform for organisations responding to the Coronavirus pandemic to let communities know about support services. Contact Andrea.Quaintmere@aston-Mansfield.org.uk
- Fitter Finance project providing resources and advice online to small charities, organisations and emerging charities. Support can be given via telephone or Skype on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Contact Kemar.firstname.lastname@example.org or Mustafa.email@example.com
Twitter – @AMcomms
Instagram and Facebook – Aston-Mansfield
Partnership between Five East London Charities – support hubs
- Newham Charities Bonny Downs Community Association, The Magpie Project, The Renewal Programme, West Silvertown Foundation and Alternatives Trust East London have announced a partnership to help vulnerable neighbours during the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Four donation hubs have been set up in Forest Gate, East Ham, Manor Park and West Silvertown where residents can donate urgently needed items to create relief packs to distribute to vulnerable neighbours.
- The charities are asking people who are able to go shopping to buy non-perishable foods including tinned foods (such as meat, tuna, soup, rice pudding and fruit and vegetables), jars of pasta sauce and jam, dried foods (including pasta, biscuits and coffee), large-size nappies, sanitary towels, soap, bleach, Milton tablets, washing up liquid, washing powder and toothpaste.
- The hubs are:
- FOREST GATE Hub at Forest Lane Lodge, E7 9DE on Mondays and Wednesdays 10am to 2pm
- The EAST HAM Hub at The Well Community Centre, 49 Vicarage Lane, E6 6DQ on Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am to 2pm
- The MANOR PARK Hub at The Renewal Programme, 395 High Street North E12 6PG on Tuesdays 10am to 2pm and Fridays 10am to 2pm; or
- The WEST SILVERTOWN Hub at Britannia Village Hall, E16 1TU on Mondays and Thursdays 11am to 3pm.
- The charities are appealing also for financial donations to the emergency appeal for those unable to access the hubs. Donations can be made securely online at justgiving.com/campaign/NewhamCovid19 and will be split between the participating charities.
Carers FIRST – support for Carers
- Offering online support to carers. Visit www.carersFIRST.org.uk for more information
- Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 303 1555
- Phone advice on debt, legal and crisis. Visit www.community-links.org/ for more information.
- Alternatively, Email email@example.com or call 0207 473 2270
Newham New Deal Partnership
- All help and information will be provided by telephone, post and/or email.
- Combating social isolation and loneliness for users self isolating at home. Visit www.newhamndp.org.uk for more information
- Alternatively, contact firstname.lastname@example.org via email or call 0208 472 0658
Facebook group Newham Covid19 to contact volunteers who can assist with shopping: