Category Archive News

A Handbook for families – Information on autism and ADHD in children’

Please find attached A Handbook for families – Information on autism and ADHD in children. Until service resumes as normal after the coronavirus response, some of the services will be operating differently to the information in the booklet. After the response has concluded, we expect it to be correct.”

Coronavirus Round-up

Safe and Well telephone service

Involve have developed a Safe and Well telephone service, supported by Kent Fire and Rescue, which we are offering to our clients, patients at GP practices and anyone in the wider community who could benefit. The service is delivered by our trusted staff and volunteers, and provides advice, information, guidance and access to local support, including urgent collection of medication or food by the Fire service if needed. It will also make a regular friendly call to anyone who is coping ok with the essentials, but feeling lonely, anxious and worried.
If you would like to refer someone, please call us 0300 0810005 or email office@involvekent.org.uk. Please note, most of our staff are working at home, as per the guidance, and we have been very busy setting up this service and receiving referrals. If it takes a little longer to get through on the phone, please do be patient, keep trying, or leave us a message with all the info we need to make contact. Our staff at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospitals working in the Integrated Discharge Teams are still on site, and our Community Navigators are still home visiting to complete urgent assessments for community equipment, until we are advised otherwise.

Domestic Abuse

As we are all aware, those experiencing domestic abuse at this time of self-isolation and social anxiety may be more at risk and escalations are likely so if you or anyone you know need support and advice please don’t hesitate to contact the following agencies and call 999 in an emergency

Choices Domestic Abuse Services: 0800 917 9948

National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247

The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327

The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994

National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428

Samaritans (24/7 service) – 116 123

Government Guidance for Schools, Colleges and Local Authorities

As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing.  And the most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading. That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.  It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.  Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.  Please read the full guidance on Childcare the gov website

Coronavirus Bill

The UK government’s coronavirus action plan, published on 3 March, set out measures to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak that are reasonable, proportionate and based on the latest scientific evidence. Specifically, it detailed:

what we know about the virus and the disease it causes; how we have planned for an infectious disease outbreak; what we are planning to do next, depending on the course the coronavirus outbreak takes; the role the public can play in supporting this response, now and in the future.

The plan also includes information on the government’s 4-stage strategy: contain, delay, research, mitigate. It sets out advice for how the public should respond in each stage, including what to expect as the outbreak advances.

It also envisaged that changes to legislation might be necessary in order to give public bodies across the UK the tools and powers they need to carry out an effective response to this emergency. This paper sets out, subject to final approvals, the elements of the bill and the reasons why they are needed.

The development of an effective response to the epidemic requires a number of actions. Some of these involve the use of tools and powers that are set out in statute. The governments of the UK therefore resolved to review and where necessary amend the legislation, to ensure that the UK’s response is consistent and effective.

Some of the proposed changes therefore deal with easing the burden on frontline NHS and adult social care staff, some help staff by enabling them to work without financial penalty, and some support people and communities in taking care of themselves, their families and loved ones, and their wider community.

The legislation will be time-limited – for 2 years – and not all of these measures will come into force immediately. The bill allows the 4 UK governments to switch on these new powers when they are needed, and, crucially, to switch them off again once they are no longer necessary, based on the advice of Chief Medical Officers of the 4 nations.

The measures in the coronavirus bill are temporary, proportionate to the threat we face, will only be used when strictly necessary and be in place for as long as required to respond to the situation.

We have worked closely with the devolved administrations to develop an effective package of measures to support frontline staff and individuals involved in this vital national response.  To read the Contents of the Bill, please visit the Gov. website

Carers UK Advice to Carers

We appreciate that this is a very concerning time for carers, with many worried about how coronavirus will affect their caring roles.

We’ve put together some guidance for carers which you can read at carersuk.org/coronavirus. This includes guidance on being prepared for emergencies, protecting those you care for, and information for working carers.

We’ve also been working with Carers Trust to put out a joint statement on the virus, which you can read here: carersuk.org/coronavirusstatement. The statement sets out the central questions and concerns carers have around coronavirus, and how we believe services should be preparing. We’ve put this statement to Public Health England, NHS England, local authorities, government departments including the Departments for Health and Social Care, Work and Pensions, and Communities and Local Government, and will continue to put pressure on the government and health services to account for carers in their response to the virus.

Changes at Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind Due To COVID-19 Outbreak
Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind have been working tirelessly with our partners and funders to develop a programme of support which will be available to service users and clients who are affected by the current restrictions in place.
It is safe to say that Mental Health is something which will be heavily affected by the current situation. It is important to us that we are able to continue support, in any capacity, to those who need it most during this difficult time – and so we have taken the decision to develop a programme of online services which will provide a plethora of support to individuals who need wellbeing support during periods of isolation. 
Our in-building services have been suspended for the foreseeable future – and we are, instead, digitising as many services as possible. Some of our community groups will be made available online for our service users to access, and some of our structured courses and training sessions will continue to be delivered through ZOOM as a medium. This is a new platform for us to deliver support through – but we are keen to develop it during this difficult time, so you will see additional support pop up across the duration of this period. 
For any service users who are unable to utilise ZOOM, we will offer accompanying telephone support services to ensure that none of our service users go without support whilst they are unable to access our College Road building.   
We are also developing and trialling a brand-new Low-Cost Counselling service which will be accessible by the telephone for a flat rate of £10 per person. This will enable us to offer support to people who would benefit from additional interventions during this critical period – and will also allow us to generate a small level of income to support the continuity of our services during this incredibly important time.  
It is a critical time, so we will continue to update you as frequently as possible. For more details, please visit our website.
We want to take this opportunity to wish our partner organisations, followers, supporters and service users well during this period of disruption. Stay safe – and we will look forward to continuing to work with you when we are through this period of difficulty.  

Council Makes Senior Citizen Bus Passes Valid Before 9.30am

To support earlier shopping trips, an emergency and temporary measure will be implemented from Thursday 19 March 2020.

Any holder of an English National Concessionary Travel Pass (older persons bus pass or a disabled person’s bus pass) will be able to use their passes prior to 9:30am on any bus services provided by Stagecoach, Arriva, Nu-Venture, Autocar, Chalkwell and Go Coach at no charge.
Find more information on the KCC website.

Aspirations Telephone Service
Aspirations continues to provide support for those struggling with their mental health and wellbeing through a telephone service. Methods or referral remain the same through our helpline number 0333 880 2730 or emailing aspirations@porchlight.org.uk  Please see more information on the Porchlight website.

Advice from Mind on Staying at Home
You might be worried about coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) and how it could affect your life. This may include being asked to stay at home or avoid other people.

This might feel difficult or stressful. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing. Please visit the Mind website to see more information about how you can look after your wellbeing at this time and to plan for staying indoors or at home. 

NHS Apps Library
While Mental Health may be heavily affected for those who having to isolate during the Covid-19 outbreak, support can be found through the NHS Apps library.
If you know someone who could benefit from this kind of support, please share.

Free Resource from Calm
Without a doubt, many of us are feeling anxious as we navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19. We’re feeling it too, and we wanted to share some of the tools we’re using to take care of our minds and stay grounded. All of the resources on this page are free of charge — please share with anyone who might benefit.

Early Opening Times for Elderly and Vulnerable

Sainsbury’s Elderly-Only Shopping Time
From Monday 23rd March, our online customers who are over 70 years of age or have a disability will have priority access to online delivery slots. We will contact these customers in the coming days with more details.
For any online customer who can travel to our stores, from Monday 23rd March, we will operate an expanded ‘click and collect’ service. We are significantly increasing the number of collection sites across the country over the coming days in preparation for this. Customers can place their order online as usual and pick it up from a collection point in the store car park. We believe this will also work for people who are self-isolating.  As we work to feed the nation, we are also focusing all of our efforts on getting as much food and other essential items from our suppliers, into our warehouses and onto shelves as we possibly can. We still have enough food for everyone – if we all just buy what we need for us and our families.  Read the full update here.

Nationwide Early Opening Times for Elderly
We’re trialling new branch opening times during the coronavirus outbreak so that elderly and vulnerable people can manage their money in a safe environment with a dedicated hour each morning.  From Wednesday, March 18, more than 100 branches across the UK will open from 8am, instead of the usual 9am, in a trial to determine whether it is an effective way of providing support to people aged 70 and above and those with underlying health conditions at an uncertain time.  The arrangement will enable groups of people at highest risk from coronavirus to go about their day-to-day transactions with greater confidence and safety during the pandemic.

They will be able to use the facilities first, benefiting from enhanced cleaning that branches will undergo each evening, and before they open to the wider membership from their usual opening times.  See full article on the Nationwide website.

Marks and Spencer Early Trading for Elderly
From the 20th of March, the first hour of trading at Marks and Spencer will be devoted to older and vulernable customers, on Mondays and Thursdays.  Marks and Spencer will also be open for the first hour of trading on Tuesdays and Fridays NHS and Emergency workers.  See www.marksandspencer.com/stores to find out local opening times of stores.  Please note this does not include franchise stores in petrol and railway stations.

Waitrose Community Support Fund and Early Opening for Elderly
First, Waitrose is creating a £1 million Community Support Fund to be used as direct aid for the communities you and our Partners live and work in. Your local store will have these funds to support their local area based on the needs of the community. 
Help will include setting up additional local delivery services to support people isolated in their homes; for delivering essential items to local care homes and community groups; and for donating products to create care packages for customers to share with vulnerable neighbours.   Waitrose stores will dedicate the first hour of opening as a priority shopping time for the elderly, the vulnerable and those who look after them. Our waitrose.com team is also looking into ways to support vulnerable customers who need food delivered to them.

Free Car Service to Sainsbury’s for Elderly and Vulnerable in Tonbridge
Castle Cars Taxi service are currently providing a free car service to Sainsbury’s during the early opening times for the elderly and vulnerable in Tonbridge and Hildenborough.   Please note this service is only available on Thursdays.  If you know of a elderly or vulnerable resident who would benefit from this service, call Castle Cars on 01732 363637.

Support from Age UK Maidstone
We fully understand the difficulties that will be faced by many of the older people in our community over the coming weeks. We want you to know that we are here for you. Age UK Maidstone are offering hot, freshly cooked, two course meals delivered to your door and ready to be served.  We can also provide assistance with shopping and picking up prescriptions. Our staff are also on hand to provide information about the Dementia Outreach Service we are putting in place, supporting people with Dementia in their own homes with daily activities. The Service is delivered by specialist Dementia trained staff who will work with families to help you care for a loved one at this time.  We know how important it is in these dire circumstances for older people to have access to reliable advice, support and friendship. Our Information and Advice and Befriending services will still be available over the telephone, or by post for those that are hard of hearing.  If you require any help please reach out and contact us on 01622 753618 or email info@ageukmaidstone.org.uk

Free Crafting Materials for Kids in Maidstone
Art of Mine pottery painting art studio have lots of craft materials which we are giving away to help keep you and the kids busy over the next few weeks. If you would like a bag of craft stuff please text us and we will leave one out for you.  Please text your name to 07792541149 and we will leave your bag in the entrance to the studio. The door will be opened so there is no need to come into contact with anything apart from your bag. Address is, Little Budds Farm, Coldblow Lane, Thurnham, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3LR

Free Pet Food Delivery in Southborough
Pets Fayre in Southborough are operating a free delivery service of Pet Food for those who are self isolating. ‘[Pets Fayre] and every single item and surface in it, has been disinfected today along with our usual hygiene practices and our door is open (literally). Please just let us know if you would like specific or bulk buys ordered in for you.’ 

The Rubin Clinic @ Fusion Healthy Living Centre

The rubin clinic has been suspended until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

If you have any urgent concerns then please contact The Rubin clinic between 8-10 am Monday-Friday

The Rubin Clinic on 01622 225713

To order a free testing kit or for further information go to:

www.kent.gov.uk/sexualhealth

Hi Kent Hearing Aid Aftercare Clinic/COVID-19

We regret that, with immediate effect, we are suspending our service in most West Kent locations. This move is to safeguard our wonderful volunteers, as their wellbeing is our priority.

We will continue to run the following (subject to change):

Tunbridge Wells Gateway, 8 Grosvenor Road, TN1 2AB

10.00 – 12.00 – Thursdays

Paddock Wood, Dowding Day Centre, Commercial Road TN12 6DP

Fridays 10.00 – 11.30 am

3rd April and 1st May

Hawkhurst, Dunks Hall, Rye Road, TN18 4JG

Fridays 10.00 – 11.30 am

3rd April and 1st May

Please check updates on our website (hikent.org.uk) and Twitter (@hikent_deaf). Batteries can be obtained from Hi Kent, – send your brown book and a SAE

(Lge Letter or 2 first Class stamps) to

Hi Kent, Brewer Street, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1RU

or contact Audiology on 01622 226198

Advice for Self Employed

UPDATED: Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to help Britain’s 6m self-employed get through the coronavirus pandemic.

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will offer a taxable grant of up to 80 per cent of a self-employed person’s income based on their taxable profits over the past three years, capped at £2,500 per month.

The scheme will only become available at the beginning of June and will have an initial three-month lifespan, to be reviewed.

And the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will only cover those who paid tax on trading profits of up to £50,000 of income in 2018-19.

HMRC will pay the single lump sum direct into people’s bank accounts.

Individuals should not contact HMRC now. Instead, HMRC will contact you directly, ask you to fill out an online form, and then pay the grant straight into your bank account.

The Treasury estimates that two-thirds of the roughly 6m self-employed will benefit from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, which it estimates will cost £9bn in its first three months.

Sunak claimed the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, which will cover up to 95 per cent of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment, is “one of the most generous in the world”.

Sunak said: “I’m proud of what we’ve done so far, but I know that many self-employed people are deeply anxious about the support available for them … Despite these extraordinary steps, there will be challenging times ahead. We will not be able to protect every single job or save every single business.”

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme at a glance

  • Same level of support as PAYE employees who face redundancy because of coronavirus
  • Up to 80 per cent of typical earnings capped at £2,500 per month gross. Income tax and national insurance still payable
  • Open to anybody with income up to £50,000 according to their 2018-19 tax return
  • Money paid by HMRC straight into your bank account – no need to contact taxman
  • SEISS will only go live early June at earliest
  • Available to people who make the majority of income from self-employment
  • Only those who have – or are about to make a tax return for 2018-19 tax return – can apply

The coronavirus self-employed rescue package is based on Norway’s scheme, which pays self-employed people 80 per cent of their average earnings over the previous three-year period.

The self-employed make up 15 per cent of the UK workforce and represent a sector worth an estimated £305bn.

Britain’s self-employed are a disparate group.  Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed that about a third had taxable income of less than £10,000, while a small number of high-earning partners in professional firms rank among the UK’s top 1 per cent by income.

Emma Jones, founder small business support network, Enterprise Nation, said: “There will be some casualties. Those that are new to self-employment for example and those that have mortgages and bills to pay before June.”

>See also: How to get the government’s £10,000 cash grant for small businesses

What do I do now?

  • Check your prior year tax returns to assess whether you are eligible on the majority trading and £50,000 trading profit conditions
  • Get your tax return for 2018/19 filed if you have not yet done so (by 23 April 2020)
  • Grants are expected to be paid out in June, so there may still be some concern around cashflow until the grant is paid, and this will need to be factored into your cashflow forecasts
  • Consider other help you may be eligible for as a self-employed worker
  • If you haven’t heard from HMRC in the next few weeks and you believe you are eligible then do make your application to HMRC for the grant. HMRC will be checking your eligibility against its records and there will certainly be some who are in danger of falling through the cracks

Emma Beynon, a tax consultant at Kreston Reeves, said: “Remember, this is not tax-free income. The payments will form part of your trading profit for the year and be taxed along with the rest of your trading profits through your Self-Assessment Tax Returns.”

What if I’m a self-employed contractor with my own company?

The Self-Employed Income support scheme does not cover the 1.8m who are owner-managers of their companies, paying themselves mostly through dividends.

Tim Stovold, head of tax at accountants Moore Kingston,  told the Financial Times that 400,000 paid themselves mostly dividends through personal service companies.

Brian Palmer, tax policy expert at the Association of Accounting Technicians, said: “There were also no crumbs of comfort for those who are self-employed from every perspective but provide their services through a limited company, many of whom draw a low salary and top up their income with dividends. They will not qualify as self-employed or for a significant payment from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Instead, they risk dropping through the cracks.”

Seb Maley, CEO of tax specialist for freelancers and contractors Qdos, added: “The chancellor may have delivered for millions of self-employed workers, but hundreds of thousands of genuinely self-employed individuals working through their own limited companies have been overlooked.

“Like employees, these people pay their tax, contribute billions to the economy and are helping the UK through this crisis. So it’s concerning that the Government has ignored them when it matters most.”

Beynon added: “Although taxpayers who trade through their own company may consider themselves self-employed, these measures do not extend to cover the shareholder directors of personal trading company. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme offers some cover to employees but directors are unlikely to benefit as they are central to the ongoing operation of the business.”

Treasury officials argue that is impossible to know whether the dividends came from the fruits of their work or from passive investments.

Also, the government believes that some self-employed contractors have been engaging in tax avoidance by setting up personal service companies and do not deserve support.

However, the Treasury suggests that self-employed contractors who work through personal service companies and pay themselves dividends could furlough themselves and apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Applying for Universal Credit in the meantime

The chancellor said that in the meantime self-employed workers can apply for Universal Credit, which has been temporarily increased to match levels of statutory sick pay (£94.25 a week) with the “minimum income floor” scrapped.

However those applying for Universal Credit for the first time will usually have to wait for five weeks to receive a pay cheque.

And any self-employed person with savings of £16,000 or more is not entitled to any support via Universal Credit so will have to wait until they have burned through their savings in order to qualify.

Prior to today’s announcement, the government pointed out that it had already strengthened “the safety-net for the self-employed” through delaying self-assessment tax payments due in July until January 2021.

Self-employed workers will also be able to claim business interruption loans worth up to £5m.

>See also: What coronavirus small business help is available for free?

Self-employed face tax hike

Rishi Sunak also hinted that the self-employed, who traditionally pay less tax than those under pay-as-you-earn (PAYE), will have to pay more tax once the crisis is averted.

The self-employed typically pay less in income tax and national insurance than PAYE employees because their bills are based on tax-deductible profits.  According to the Resolution Foundation a self-employed worker on £25,000 pays £300 a year less in national insurance than an employee on the same salary.

Until now the tax system has recognised that the self-employed have no paid holidays or job security, and so pay less tax as a result.

Sunak said the “very significant tens of billions of pounds” being spent to treat self-employed people the same way as employed people during this time of crisis “throws into light that inconsistency and whether that is fair going forward when we’re all chipping in together to right this ship afterwards”.

Emma Jones, founder small business support network, Enterprise Nation, said the chancellor’s words were “a warning shot that this will give the government a very good reason to change employment law and implement something similar to IR35 and other tax measures with renewed vigour as the self-employed, on this occasion, have asked to be treated in the same way as employees. If this applies to tax, there will be more changes ahead for the self-employed down the line.”

Infozone Vitual Youth Group

have set up a Virtual Youth Group on Facebook where we will have fun games and activities as well as still being able to offer information/advise and support in these difficult time. can either scan the QR code on the poster, search for InfoZone Virtual youth group on Facebook or follow this link https://www.facebook.com/groups/632035690967867/.

Maidstone Borough Council Community Support Hub

Maidstone Borough Council has created a Community Support Hub to provide a coordinated response to help provide and deliver essentials to people across the borough who are most in need.

The Council led Hub has been set-up in response to the Government introduction of ‘shielding’ and the call to create a network of hubs covering the whole country for the most vulnerable. The Maidstone Hub will offer help to those people who don’t have a support system in place and to assist those people with serious medical conditions who have been told to remain indoors for 12 weeks because of the Coronavirus.

Working with local volunteer and community groups the MBC Hub will provide a service to anyone of any age who is in need of additional support at this time.

Maidstone Borough Council Leader, Cllr Martin Cox said:
“The Maidstone Community Hub is here to help our local residents who are most in need.  It will provide a service to the most vulnerable working in partnership with other agencies and community groups. This will include helping people who are socially isolated, those who may need essential groceries or medication.

“The MBC team has worked very hard to set-up this service which we believe is vital to ensuring the most vulnerable are looked after.”

The Maidstone Borough Council Community Hub will have a specific focus on providing access to food, medicines and other supplies and will be open Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5pm.

The introduction of the network of community hubs was announced by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, who said free parcels of groceries would be delivered to the most vulnerable, adding: “Nobody needs to worry about getting the food and essential items that they will need.”

Those who need help from the MBC Community Support Hub should call freephone: Community Hub Triage (Freephone 0300 303 1650) or can contact us via the the MBC website: https://www.maidstone.gov.uk/home/other-services/covid-19/tier-2-primary-areas/support-for-a-vulnerable-person

Stay at home save lives

in line with new government advice please see this poster (in english and nepali) below on what to do for the next three weeks:

Virtual Job Shop

Golding Homes are working with West Kent Housing, Clarion and the DWP offering employment support such as job searching, updating CV’s and cover letters to the community by phone and email vitually by phone and email five days a week. for more details see the poster below.

Message from Helen Whately MP, Member of Parliament for Faversham and Mid Kent

The coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation. The Government has been clear that our number one priority is to protect life, and that our decisions will be based on the best available science. The coronavirus demands dramatic action and we are working tirelessly, in partnership with local councils, businesses, charities and other organisations, to ensure that people have the support that they need.

Please be assured that I will be continuing to work hard both locally and in Parliament to do everything I possibly can to protect and support people, particularly those who are most vulnerable and at risk. I would also strongly urge everyone to follow the advice issued by Government as we all have a vital part to play in battling the coronavirus. 

This is of course a very concerning time and there are still many unanswered questions. The situation is however moving extremely quickly and there have been significant developments. New measures and updated guidance will continue to be issued in the coming days and weeks. I have dedicated a page on my website where you can find the latest information: https://www.helenwhately.org.uk/coronavirus-advice. I have also included a number of links below that provide up-to-date information.

Health information and advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Government response: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Guidance for employees, employers and businesses: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses

Travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

With my best wishes,

Helen

Coronavirus (COVID-19) extremly vunerable Website

if you have a medical condition that makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) then please click here to gov.uk to register. For example, you’ll be able to ask for help getting deliveries of essential supplies like food. If you’re not sure whether your medical condition makes you extremely vulnerable, register anyway. You can register yourself, or on behalf of someone else.

Fusion Maidstone – Updates 18th March 2020

Fusion Maidstone – Updates 18th March 2020

Fusion continues to be your local focal point for people self-isolating and experiencing some difficulty, please contact us on 01622 691177 where we will be on hand to offer advice.

Message from KCC Public Health:

We understand some members in the community have symptoms that MAY be due to coronavirus, and have been asked to self–isolate.  Self-isolation is an effective precautionary measure to protect those around you – your family, friends, colleagues. It means taking simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible. We know it’s a stressful time, but taking these measures will help protect you, your family and all of the UK from Coronavirus.

  • NHS advice is anyone with symptoms should stay at home for at least 7 days.
  • If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.
  • After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine

Staying at home may be difficult and frustrating, but there are things that you can do to help make it easier. These include:

  • plan ahead and think about what you will need in order to be able to stay at home for the full 7 or 14 days
  • talk to your employer, friends and family to ask for their help to access the things you will need to make your stay at home a success
  • think about and plan how you can get access to food and other supplies such as medications that you will need during this period
  • ask friends or family to drop off anything you need or order supplies online, but make sure these are left outside your home for you to collect
  • make sure that you keep in touch with friends and family over the phone or through social media
  • think about things you can do during your time at home. People who have successfully completed a period of staying at home have kept themselves busy with activities such as cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
  • many people find it helpful to plan out the full 14 days, such as on a make-shift calendar. You may also find it helpful to plan in advance what you will do if, for example, someone in the household were to feel much worse, such as have difficulties breathing
  • when you are feeling better, remember that physical exercise can be good for your wellbeing. Look for online classes or courses that can help you take light exercise in your home.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

BJM Article, ibuprofen warning to treat the symptoms of Covid – 19

  • Patients prescribed Ibuprofen for medical conditions by GP must continue to take it.  Self-medication for COVID-19 could cause complications.

Partners sessions:

  • Junior Youth Club – March 19th – cancelled due to shortage of staff.

Both Junior and Senior Youth Clubs will follow KCC guidelines and as long as schools remain open they will run but will be reliant on staff numbers.

COVID-19, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen (Nurofen)

To read more about COVID-19, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen (which is either generically named or under the brand name Nurofen) please see this document below.

Fusion Closure Effective immediately. For all coronavirus news please see the coronavirus section above.

In light of the current situation surrounding COVID-19 and the advice from central government we have made the decision to close the café including the computer/printer services for the foreseeable future as our target audience are social groups and the vulnerable members of our community, just the demographics that the government is encouraging not to socialise. We appreciate the closure will have an impact on you and your family and we sincerely apologise for this and hope that you understand our need to adapt and be flexible to this rare and challenging situation.

We will keep in contact via social media and our website with any updates as the situation develops.   

In the meantime, if you have any concerns or require assistance please call Fusion on 01622 691177 and we will support you via telephone to the best of our ability.  If you feel ill and you would like to know what to do next please contact NHS 111.   

We wish you well in the present situation and thank you for your continued understanding. 

Fusion Maidstone 

New job hunting support

Both Golding homes and Clarion housing are running a new job hub inside The Mall Maidstone (formerly the Chequers centre) every Thursday morning between 10:00am to 12:00pm during term time. No appointment is necessary as it is drop in. Details are available below.

Mind the Knife

‘Mind the Knife’ Programme for Secondary School aged children

Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind are pleased to be partnering with Youth Resilience UK to deliver a brand-new programme in Maidstone, known as ‘Mind the Knife’.

The programme has been funded by the Home Office and the Office of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner and aims to look at the potential ties between knife crime and poor mental health.

Over the course of a five-week programme, young people will have the opportunity to explore practical ideas around how they can keep themselves safe without breaking the law. This will be combined with a resilience-driven focus, encouraging young people to build and develop positive coping strategies which help to boost both their self-esteem and confidence – leading to an improved self-image.

The programme will combine MMK Mind’s wellbeing and resilience focus with Youth Resilience UK’s specialist knowledge around knife crime – enabling the course to go more in-depth around particular problem areas which young people may encounter.

Two FREE five-week courses are available for members of the public. Both will begin on the 25th of February 2020, and will run from 10am till 11:30am, and from 12noon till 1:30pm. These hour and a half sessions will take place at Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind’s office on College Road in Maidstone (ME15 6YH).

For more details, visit the following webpage: https://www.maidstonemind.org/mind-knife-knife-crime-course-kent/

Alternatively, you can E-Mail James Walker directly via jameswalker@mmkmind.org.uk.

Amazon smile

Fusion has enrolled into the Amazon smile program. Amazon Smile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices and shopping features as Amazon.co.uk The difference is that when you shop on Amazon Smile, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price (excluding VAT, returns and shipping fees) from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. Just go here, login to you amazon account and search for Fusion Maidstone.

Maidstone Youth Wellbeing Cafe

Maidstone MIND is currently running at its main office on College Road every Wednesday a youth cafe for those aged 12 to 17. This cafe will provide any mental health needs to those within that age group. If you like to know more please read the poster below for all the contact details.

Weight watchers

From Wednesday 28th August and Saturday 31st August and every Wednesday and Saturday thereafter Fusion will host the park wood weight watchers workshop where a specially trained weight watchers coach will help you lose weight in a supportive environment. Read the poster for more information.

Kent Sheds

Are you over 18 and looking to learn new skills and make new friendships? Kent County council is running a initiative called Kent sheds which is part of the international men’s shed movement. Activities may include anything related to a shed such as metalwork, woodwork and others. If you like to be involved read the poster below for more information.

Weight loss Journey

Want to start the new year with a healthy new start? Looking to lose weight, quit smoking or cut back on alcohol as part of you new year resolution? One you Kent is a initiative with various programs run by Kent County Council and Maidstone Borough Council. Google one you Kent for more details on the initiative such as the free mobile app, various courses on weight loss, becoming smoke free etc.