Coronavirus Round-up


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 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.

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 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: 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.

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.

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 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 team is also looking into ways to support vulnerable customers who need food delivered to them.

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

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