Coronavirus (Covid-19): 23 March update

Hello everyone,

I know you’re all working unbelievably hard, so this update comes with a huge dollop of thanks for everything you’re doing and virtual cups of tea and biscuits.

Here’s the latest government health guidance. Have a look at the explanations of self-isolating, social distancing and shielding.

We’re putting all of these updates on our website, so that anyone can access them, so if you know anyone who isn’t on one of our lists do point them this way

Legal updates

Nationally, charities have been working hard with government to ensure that our sector is supported at this crucial time, specifically they are asking for commitments from the government including:

  • emergency funding for frontline charities and volunteers supporting the response to the coronavirus crisis, especially where they are alleviating pressure on the health service or providing support to people suffering from the economic and social impact of coronavirus
  • a ‘stabilisation fund’ for all charities to help them stay afloat, pay staff and continue operating during the course of the pandemic
  • confirmation that charities should be eligible for similar business interruption measures announced by the chancellor for businesses

As soon as there is any announcement on this we will let you know

Council Updates

  • West Sussex County Council latest update
  • Brighton and Hove City Council have created a series of working groups, known as “cells” in their resilience planning. These link council and key stakeholders to co-ordinate the city response and organise contingency planning. The Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) is represented on the Vulnerable People, Children and Young People, Vulnerable Housing and Food Cells and are working with Council colleagues to think through the impact and VCS response in these areas. This is a rapidly changing environment and is ongoing. The cells are very active, our collaborative resilience planning is very much focussed on sound delivery and sustainable solutions that work for the longer term and we are treating it as the new normal for at least several months ahead
  • Children services update
  • Brighton & Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership: Covid 19 Business Continuity plan

Updates from NCVO 

Updates from you:

  • Ageing Well have compiled an up to date list of local and national information to support people during this time. They will be updating it on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s. Watch theirs Website, Twitter and Facebook  for more information.
  • Brighton and Hove Food Partnership have sent this update for children receiving Free School Meals in Brighton, Hove and Portslade. Sadly they have also been informed that some parents have received an email stating the following: ‘As schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we’ll make sure you’re supported’. They can confirm that this is a scam email and is not official. They urge parents that if you receive any emails like this, please do not respond, and delete it immediately.
  • The Resource Centre has just published information on their website, with some tips and information about a range of video and telephone meeting tools – aiming to focus on those that are free and easy to use for small groups. Let them know about any others as they are hoping to keep it up to date
  • Brighton and Hove Food Partnership: Collating information on help with shopping
  • Age UK Brighton and Hove/ West Sussex service update
  • Survivors’ Network produced Online resources available during social distancing and self-isolation
  • Friends’ Meeting House is closed for at least the next 8 weeks because of the Covid 19 virus. For more information call 01273 770258 or see their website.
  • Safety Net have put together a special edition of the newsletter Safety Rocks for parents and carers to reflect the current situation and offer some information, tips and advice.
  • The WEA will be trialling an online Tai Chi session. Call 0300 303 3464 option 1, course code C3745359 or enrol online.  The session will take place on 27 March.
  • Citizens Online has just shared a fantastic newsletter with lots of useful information and resources.
  • Brighton and Hove Speak Out is continuing to provide advocacy support to people with learning disabilities over the phone and are adapting the delivery of other areas of their work using online and phone support. They are currently in the process of setting up an advocacy helpline which initially will be open 9-5pm Monday to Friday which will be open to all people with learning disabilities in the city.  They are planning that this service will become live during the week of 23rd March once their phone and IT are reconfigured. You can contact Speak Out for more information on or call 01273 421921.
  • BHIMS we are still accepting referrals and providing telephone support to enable people to manage dispute situations. They are aware that with many people spending all their time at home, relationships with neighbours are very significant
  • Amaze have also flagged their ‘Leisure, Learning and Lock-down’ guide on the Compass Card website. It’s written with Compass Card families in mind, but will be useful for families in general.
  • Open Strings are now offering a virtual version of their free music-at-home service, Musical Box Scheme, for people living with dementia and carers / companions: a wipeable lending library of musical instruments and resource book, supported by monthly one-to-one music sessions via Zoom / Skype. This will be extended to other socially-isolated people soon. They are also developing tools and approaches to online connection via music-making for wellbeing and communication; updates at Website & Facebook
  • Healthwalks have cancelled all walks but will be using Facebook page to keep in touch. Contact them if you would be interested in being added to a Healthwalks Whatsapp chat groups that they are looking at seeing up with Walk Leaders. For more information see their website or call 01273 294589
  • Homeschooling – video shows how to install a fast and easy to use free open source operating system on an otherwise seemingly unusable machine that people may well have laying around.

Health advice translations

  • Doctors of the World and the British Red Cross have produced simple fact sheets with the latest government public health advice in 20 languages. Please direct your clients and members here if this would be helpful for them.

Information on how energy suppliers can help support customers in self-isolation

  • British Gas – If you’re in isolation and you think you’ll use up your balance and emergency credit, contact British Gas and it has said it’ll find a solution on a case-by-case basis. Call 0333 202 9802
  • EDF has advised people who self-isolate to ask friends and family to help you top up. Where this is not possible, it says it can deliver ‘preloaded’ cards and keys if you need to self-isolate – this balance will then be collected back at a “suitable rate” later. Call 0333 200 5100
  • E.on says it can post top-up cards or keys loaded with credit to your home or send an engineer to top up your meter. It says if your electricity meter falls below 50p of emergency credit, or you’re off supply for gas, it can either send a card or key in the post, or it will send an engineer round to top up for you. However, it advises to top up a little extra or asking a trusted person to help in order to prepare for self-isolation. Call 0345 052 0000
  • Npower has said it is taking steps to maintain essential services and support for customers. However, it says details are still being developed and urges anyone in self-isolation who is struggling to top up to get in contact with it as soon as possible. Call 0800 073 3000
  • Scottish Power  has published guidance on its website and advised people who need to self-isolate to ask a friend, neighbour or family member to top up for, and to add more credit to your meter than normal. Call 0800 027 0072
  • Bulb has advised people who self-isolate to ask friends and family to help you top up. Where this is not possible, it says you can pay online and a preloaded card will be delivered.  Call 0300 303 0635

Take care and hope you and yours stay well

Community Works team

Please see our Coronavirus Covid-19: Latest information and what you can do hub page for more information.

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