Accessing the right information, support and guidance from home
Local COVID-19 Support Groups
Somerset has many local groups, charities and organisations providing information and support for people affected by COVID-19. Read on to find out how to access your local corona support group, the latest government COVID-19 advice and specific topics to support your health and wellbeing at home.
Volunteers in villages and towns are working together to help community members with tasks such as collecting prescriptions and groceries. To find support near you, visit corona-helpers.co.uk and click ‘I Need Help’. If you can’t see a group near you on Corona Helpers, look at your local Facebook page, where many groups are promoting themselves. If you need help to find a group near you, give us a call on 01460 202970, or contact us via our live chat.
You can also find support on your local health and wellbeing directory. Please be aware that under the current circumstances many of the groups listed are likely to have suspended their services, however some may be offering support over the phone.
The Healthy Somerset website is full of information and resources for staying fit and healthy during Coronavirus, including keeping active, healthy eating, stop smoking service, mental health support, support for families and children, and lots more. Visit https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/COVID-19/
General COVID-19 Information
The NHS COVID-19 App
The NHS COVID-19 app is part of a large scale COVID-19 testing and contact tracing programme called the NHS Test and Trace service in England and the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service in Wales. The app will be used, alongside traditional contact tracing, to help notify users if they have come into contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus. You can find out more about the app here.
Somerset County Council
For information and the latest guidance on a range of topics including staying at home, NHS advice, mental health support, education guidance for parents and carers, business and employment, and healthcare workers and carers, visit https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/ for further details. The county council also has a Coronavirus Support Helpline for anyone in Somerset who needs Coronavirus-related support from their district councils. You can access local authority help, including emotional support, via this number. Call 0300 790 6275 between 8am and 6pm, seven days a week.
Citizens Advice Bureau
Has a wealth of information available online to help you navigate the challenges of COVID–19. Check out details on symptoms, going to work, school closures, what to do if you are self-employed, and benefits advice. This information is updated daily. Visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/health/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you/
Citizens Advice in Somerset
Face-to-face services are not currently available, however support is available via phone and email. Call 03444 889 623 to speak to an adviser. You will also find general and specialist information and advice on their district websites.
Looking after your mental health
Staying at home for a prolonged period can be difficult and frustrating, so it’s especially important to remember to take care of your mind and body, and to know where to get support if you need it. Stay in touch with family and friends by phone or social media and see what resources are available online. For example:
The government has produced an online guide about looking after your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak. It also provides a link to NHS recommended helplines and courses on a range of topics and situations. Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19
Mind in Somerset A charity which supports people with their mental health throughout the county. Their group programmes are currently on hold, but they do have an emotional support telephone helpline available covering a range of situations. Call 01823 276 892. This line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is for all ages. Visit https://www.mindinsomerset.org.uk/
Rethink Mental Illness
A charity which provides a support, advice and information service. Their group programmes are currently on hold, but you can visit their website to access other resources and information and you can email too. Visit https://www.rethink.org/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Rethink has also produced a leaflet with tips and advice to help you look after yourselves and each other during the current situation. You can download it here.
An online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people, accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop. It is free, safe and anonymous. You can access support Monday to Friday 12pm to 10pm, and weekends 6pm to 10 pm. Visit www.kooth.com.
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
A children’s mental health charity with experience of caring for young people and their families. They have lots of resources available online to help manage the impact the coronavirus situation might have on children and young people’s mental health, including for young people, parents and carers, and schools and colleges. Visit https://www.annafreud.org/what-we-do/anna-freud-learning-network/coronavirus/ or email email@example.com for general enquiries.
Farming Community Network
This is a voluntary organisation and charity which supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times. Visit https://fcn.org.uk/, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call their helpline between 7am and11pm for free, confidential, pastoral and practical support: 03000 111 999.
The Somerset Bereavement Support Service is here to help if you have been bereaverd and need emotional support or someone to talk to. Available Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm. Call 0800 304 7412.
The Little Book of Mental Health
A great booklet designed to support your everyday emotional wellbeing. This booklet was not designed with COVID-19 in mind but there are still some excellent tips and tools for managing feelings of anxiety and depression. It is available from Somerset County Council via this link: http://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/resources/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Little_BookV72019FORWEB.pdf
Keeping active while keeping your distance
If you are looking for motivation to keep active while at home, check out these great online exercise routines from the NHS fitness studio. You can choose video workouts to suit your fitness levels, including aerobics, Pilates and strength routines. Visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/
Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership
Has some great ideas too, to keep you moving at home on your own or with your family. Visit WWW.SASP.CO.UK/BE-ACTIVE-AT-HOME. SASP is also distributing Activity at Home Packs for older people and those with long term heat conditions who may be self-isolating or shielding at home. Contact Joshua by email email@example.com or call 07458 304294 if you would like one.
NHS guidance recommends you make sure the type and intensity of your activity is appropriate for your level of fitness. You can find more information about the physical activity guidelines for your age group here https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/. You can also try chair-based exercises too! Visit https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/sitting-exercises/
You can still go outside to exercise. However the county’s Health Walks and Parkruns are on hold for the time being. We have been asked not to run or cycle together, but there are many benefits to moving outside, getting plenty of fresh air, and being in nature. You can still walk or cycle alone, and walk your dog.
Support for victims of domestic abuse
Staying at home during COVID-19 pandemic can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. There is help and support available, with information from the government at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-and-domestic-abuse/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-victims-of-domestic-abuse. Guidance is also available to help perpetrators change their behaviour.
Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (SIDAS)
If you would like to talk to someone about domestic abuse you can call the Somerset Domestic Abuse Support helpline on 0800 69 49 999, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This service is available between 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturday and Sunday. Further details available online at www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk.
For safety advice for women and young people concerned about domestic abuse during prolonged periods spent at home, visit https://www.womensaid.org.uk/covid-19-coronavirus-safety-advice-for-survivors
Runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline for women seeking emotional and practical support. It is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Call 0808 200 0247, email email@example.com or contact online via https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/Contact-us. Their website also includes information for men who are either being abused or who are abusers.
Respect – Men’s Advice Line
A confidential helpline for all men experiencing domestic violence by a current or ex-partner. They provide emotional support and practical advice and can give you details of specialist services. Visit www.mensadviceline.org.uk Call 0808 801 0327 Mon and Wed 9am to 8pm; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 91m to 5pm, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advice and resources for young people and youth workers
National Youth Agency
Has specific advice and resources for young people, youth services and youth workers. Visit their website here: https://nya.org.uk/reacting-to-covid-19-advice-to-youth-services/
A youth charity which provides a range of support and opportunities for young people. The staff team is available via email: email@example.com or call 01278 722100. There are also resources available online and a newsletter you can sign up to. Visit https://www.youngsomerset.org.uk/Pages/Category/covid-19-support
Advice and resources for older people
Age UK Somerset
offers a free and confidential information and advice service for older people, their families and carers. They can be contacted on the phone and by email, see below. For the time being their range of exercise classes and toenail cutting service are on hold. Tel 01823 345613; email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://ageuksomersetcoronavirus.org.uk.
Age UK also has a telephone service for people who are feeling lonely or a bit isolated. You can arrange to have a friendly chat by signing up for their Friendly Phone Calls by calling 01823 345610 or emailing Lauren on Lauren.email@example.com. Please leave a message with your name and number.
Age UK Somerset (above) is just one of several organisations offering a telephone befriending service. See below for more opportunities to chat to someone on the phone.
Re-engage Call Companions
If you are over 75 years old and feeling lonely or isolated. For further info call 01934 316578.
St. Margaret’s Hospice Community Support
Telephone service for people with a life-limiting illness and their carers. Call 01823 33382.
Macular Society Telephone Befriending
Befriending support for those with Macular disease is available by calling 0300 3030 111
Alzheimer's UK Side-by-Side support
If you have a dementia diagnosis and are already receiving support from the Side-by-Side service you can call 01458 251541
Somerset Sight Telephone Support
Supporting people in Somerset with sight loss. Call 01823 333818,
Independent Age Friendship Service
Telephone service available for older people. For further info call 0800 319 6789.
The Silver Line Telephone Friends
A helpline and friendship service for people aged 55+. Call 0800 4708090
We are all vulnerable to scammers but it is more important than ever to help safeguard the elderly and vulnerable and protect them from unscrupulous fraudsters and scammers. Don’t let the minority ruin all the amazing community work going on. Criminals will look for gaps in the market – help close them up by having conversations and remind everyone to STOP, CHALLENGE, CHECK, PROTECT.
Crimestoppers Facebook page
You will find information and resources to help keep you safe on the local CRIMESTOPPERS FACEBOOK PAGE.
You can also visit the trading standards website for further information about rogue traders and doorstep crime: https://www.devonsomersettradingstandards.gov.uk/consumer/scams-rogue-traders-and-doorstep-crime, or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.
Support and advice regarding a specific health condition
It is usual for many charities and community groups to provide face-to-face support and to organise local community get-togethers. However, during this time charities are having to stop these activities in line with government guidance. You can still contact charities via their websites, by email and on the phone. Do get in touch with Somerset groups and charities which you usually have contact with to see how they are adapting their service or support. Remember to check with your healthcare team if you are concerned about your health. In addition, here is a selection of key charities which support people with specific health conditions:
You can call the Somerset Dementia Adviser Service on 01458 251541, or email somersetDAS@alzheimers.org.uk.
The Alzheimer’s Society
Has a national dementia helpline: 03002221122. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
British Heart Foundation
There is current advice available from the BHF about Coronavirus and what it means for you if you have heart or circulatory disease: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/news/coronavirus-and-your-health
There is current advice available from Diabetes UK about Coronavirus and what it means for you if you have diabetes: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/coronavirus
British Lung Foundation
There is current advice available from BLF about Coronavirus and what it means for you if you have a lung condition: https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/coronavirus
There is current advice available from Asthma UK about Coronavirus and what it means for you if you have asthma: https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/triggers/coronavirus-covid-19
MacMillan Cancer Support
There is current advice available from MacMillan about Coronavirus and what it means for you if you have cancer: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/get-help/physical-help/cancer-and-coronavirus
A Disability equality charity which provides practical information and emotional support when it is most needed. You can read their Coronavirus support information here: www.scope.org.uk/coronavirus-information
Support for Carers
If you regularly look after someone in a caring capacity, you can access support and guidance from a range of charities and organisations.
Somerset Carers Service
This service provides advice and guidance. Caring for another person is very rewarding, but can be overwhelming and lonely at times. Get support from your local Carers Agent, register for Talk and Support and let your GP know that you are a carer. You will find specific Coronavirus information at https://somersetcarers.org/covid19 or call 0800 31 68 600.
Somerset Community Connect Website
You will find lots of additional advice and guidance for carers and Young Carers. Visit https://www.somersetcommunityconnect.org.uk/information-advice/carers/practicalcare-information-and-guidance/
This is a nationwide charity which provides guidance and support to carers. You can view their latest Coronavirus guidance for carers here https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/coronavirus-covid19/coronavirus-covid-19/
Specific health conditions
If you are caring for someone with a specific health condition you may be able to access additional support as a carer from a health-specific charity. Alzheimer’s Society and Parkinson’s UK, for example, offer additional support for carers too.
We'll keep this page updated, so please do check back.