Covid-19 - Coronovirus - Information and Changes to Services


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Section: Coronavirus

Information and Changes to Services

On this page you will find the links to national information and guidance on coronavirus and also advice and updates from local services who are having to work in a different way with children and families. The following is the information we have received this week. Previous weekly updates can be found here

You may also want to take a look at Wiltshire Council's dedicated Coronavirus page on its website [HERE], which will be kept updated with information about Council services that may be affected by COVID-19.

COVID Booster Vaccine for 12-17 Year Olds – You Said, We Did…

The WPCC advised in last week’s newsletter (8th January 2022) that the vaccines committee recommended extending the booster vaccination programme to all 16-17-year-olds and to vulnerable children aged 12-15. This would include 12-15-year-olds who are in one of the Green Book’s clinical risk groups, live with someone who is immunosuppressed, or who are severely immunosuppressed themselves and have already had their third primary dose.

In response to this article, the WPCC has been contacted by a few parent carers who have reported issues with being able to book a booster vaccination for their vulnerable children who meet the criteria.

You Said, We Did…
You said: "I am having difficulty accessing the booster jab my son." "I am unable to book using the National Booking System." "My GP surgery is not vaccinating children."
We did: The WPCC has spoken to Wiltshire Public Health who are keen to work with us to try to remove barriers for families of vulnerable children and young people with SEND.

As a result: we have been able to agree a solution with Wiltshire Public Health to enable the parents who contacted us, access to the booster vaccine for their vulnerable children.

If you are experiencing issues accessing the booster vaccine for your 16 to 17 year old or a child aged 12 to 15 who meets the vulnerable eligibility criteria, please contact the WPCC as we may be able to help.

How the WPCC is Working During the Current Restrictions

WPCC Staff returned to working remotely from 13th December 2021 in response the Government’s announcement that it was moving to Plan B.

We are able to continue to operate our telephone helpline and email support to respond to enquiries, and support and signpost as best we can. This worked well during previous lockdowns and we hope that there will be little impact on the service we are able to provide in the short term.

Our Outreach staff will continue to support those families they are currently working with by offering online and telephone support where possible. While Plan B restrictions are in force, our Outreach staff will only carry out home visits if they are essential.

Update on COVID Restrictions and Regulations

Following the Prime Minister’s Announcement on 8th December 2021, England remains at Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.

The additional measures announced were: -
• Face coverings to become compulsory in most public indoor venues, other than hospitality
• People asked to work from home if they can
• NHS COVID Pass to be mandatory in specific settings, using a negative test or full vaccination via the NHS COVID Pass

The WPCC created a guide, intended to try to explain the changes, as Plan B was implemented. You can see WPCC’s virtual guide [HERE].

At the beginning of January 2022, some additional changes were introduced: -
• From 4th January, face coverings are recommended in schools with pupils in year 7 and above. They should be worn in most classrooms, and by pupils, students, staff and adult visitors when moving around buildings. There are exceptions to this, including for children and young people for who wearing a face covering would be difficult due to SEND needs. See [HERE] for more information.
• From 4am on 7th January, if you qualify as fully vaccinated or are under 18, you do not need to take a PCR test before you travel to England or self-isolate when you arrive.
• From 4am on 9th January, [if you qualify as fully vaccinated], you can take either a rapid lateral flow or PCR test within 2 days of arriving in England. If you have a positive result on the rapid lateral flow test, you must take a PCR test.
• From 11th January, if you get a positive rapid lateral flow test result, most people will not need to take a PCR test to confirm the result. You must self-isolate immediately if you get a positive rapid lateral flow test result.

Remote Education if your Child Cannot Attend School or College

Information on the [gov website] states that: All state-funded schools must provide remote education for school-aged children who are unable to attend school due to following government guidance or law relating to COVID-19. You should talk to your child’s teacher or headteacher if you have concerns about the amount or quality of the remote education they are receiving. If you have exhausted the school’s complaints process and you still have concerns, you can raise them with Ofsted. Ofsted will consider the complaint and act where appropriate. Schools should work collaboratively with you to put in place reasonable adjustments so that pupils with SEND can successfully access remote education.

Covid Vaccine for Vulnerable 5-11-Year-Olds

High-risk children aged 5-11 will soon have access to the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has agreed to recommend its roll-out.

The vaccines committee has proposed that clinically vulnerable children over 5 are offered the jab immediately. Eligibility will be based on the same ‘clinical risk groups’ already defined in the [Green Book].

Eligible 5-11-year-olds should get two 10mg doses of the Pfizer vaccine eight weeks apart. The minimum interval between a vaccine dose and recent Covid infection should be of four weeks.

More information is available via the [Contact website].

COVID Vaccine for 12-17 Year Olds

Before Christmas, the vaccines committee recommended extending the booster vaccination programme to all 16-17-year-olds and to vulnerable children aged 12-15. This would include 12-15-year-olds who are in one of the [Green Book’s] clinical risk groups, live with someone who is immunosuppressed, or who are severely immunosuppressed themselves and have already had their third primary dose.

Latest information on the [NHS website] says: 2 doses are being offered to children aged 12 to 15 to give them the best protection against COVID-19.

Children can get a 1st dose of the vaccine from the day they turn 12. Children will be given the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for both doses.

Most children can get a 2nd dose from 12 weeks after they had their 1st dose.

If your child has tested positive for COVID-19 and is not at high risk from COVID-19, they need to wait 12 weeks before they can have a COVID-19 vaccine. This starts from the date of their positive PCR test.

How children can get the COVID-19 vaccine

Most children aged 12 to 15 can: -

• get the vaccine at school. Most children will be offered a 1st and 2nd dose of the vaccine at school during school hours. 2nd doses will be offered in schools from 10th January 2022. Children who have not yet had a vaccine can get their 1st dose during these vaccination sessions.

• book their [vaccination appointments online] for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy. You can book your child's 1st dose online from the day they turn 12. You can usually book their 2nd dose from 24 hours after they had their 1st dose.

• find a walk-in [vaccination site] to get vaccinated without needing an appointment.

Further information is available on the [NHS website].

COVID-19 Vaccination Update for Individuals who are Severely Immunosuppressed

The JCVI has advised that everyone aged 12 and over, who was severely immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second Covid-19 vaccine doses, will be offered a third vaccination dose.

This is different to a booster vaccination because there is evidence that some individuals who are immunosuppressed due to underlying health conditions or medical treatment may not mount a full immune response to their first two COVID-19 vaccinations.

These patients are therefore being offered a third dose, ideally 8 weeks after their second dose and at a time of minimum immunosuppression, if possible. They will also be eligible for a booster 6 months later as well, so in effect will be given 4 doses of the vaccine.

Patients who believe they are eligible for a third dose are being asked to identify themselves to their GP practice, who can then make arrangements for the vaccination appointment.

Confused over Covid Vaccines for Children? You’re Not Alone

Contact is getting inquiries from parents of children with underlying health needs who have been refused a second dose of the COVID vaccine. It seems even some health professionals are misinterpreting the guidelines.

The NHS guidance is clear: while healthy 12 to 17-year-olds will get only one vaccine dose (at least for now) all clinically vulnerable 12- to 17-year-old should be offered two. Visit the Contact website to find out [how many doses of the COVID vaccine your child should get] and what to do if they are turned down for their second vaccine dose.

Some children who are immunosuppressed may not mount a full immune response to two vaccine doses and [are therefore eligible for a third shot], ideally at least 8 weeks after the second jab.

Advice and Guidance to Help Protect People from Scams

COVID-19 has been accompanied by a surge in scams, with new attempts to dupe people every day. Everyone is potentially vulnerable to these scams; 36M UK adults have been targeted by a scammer since January 2021, with a 33% surge in scams between April 2020 and April 2021. Advice and guidance can be found on the [Friends Against Scams website].

Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering people to take a stand against scams. Information on the website helps people to learn how to protect themselves and their loved ones from scams.

Seeing Your GP – an Open Letter to people living in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire

GPs from across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have written to local people to explain that, despite current pressures, practices across the region remain open, with a range of appointments, including face-to-face, telephone and online, available.

The letter, which has been signed by Dr Bryn Bird for Bath and North East Somerset, Dr Amanda Webb for Swindon and Dr Edd Rendell for Wiltshire, can be viewed by clicking on the following link (Open letter to people living in Bath and North East Somerset Swindon and Wiltshire).

Please also remember the article that the WPCC promoted some time ago that included information from the NHS with the reassurance that GPs “must ensure they are offering face-to-face appointments to all patients. They can continue to offer video, online or phone consultations as well, but only if the patient would benefit from this”. The letter from the NHS that was sent to GPS says that “patients should have a say on the type of appointment they receive and that a preference for face-to-face care should be respected unless there are clinical reasons not to, for example, if the patient has Covid-19 symptoms”.

Covid-19 Vaccination Guides in BSL

Public Health England has produced [a suite of videos about the Covid-19 vaccine in BSL] relating to: -

COVID-19 Guide Available in Multiple Languages

COVID leaflets for adults are available in multiple languages. [The leaflet explains about the Covid-19 vaccination], who is eligible and who needs to have the vaccine to protect them from coronavirus (Covid-19).

Versions are available in: -

  • English and large print
  • Albanian
  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Chinese
  • Farsi
  • Gujarati
  • Hindi
  • Kurdish
  • Nepal
  • Punjabi
  • Polish
  • Romanian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Turkish

These can also be requested in an accessible format.

COVID Vaccine Boosters

The government announced earlier this month that people most at risk of falling seriously ill from coronavirus, including everyone aged over 50, health and social care workers and people with weakened immune systems, would be offered a COVID Booster Vaccine. Every person eligible for a booster vaccine will be contacted as soon as it is their turn and will be invited to book their jab in one of two ways, either through the National Booking Service or through their GP practice directly.

The BSW CCG has confirmed to the WPCC that in relation to the booster dose, the JCVI has advised that adults who received a primary course in Phase 1 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme (priority groups 1-9) should be offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine.

This included: -

  • those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • all adults aged 50 years or over
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (table 3)
  • adult carers and those experiencing homelessness
  • adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

It is noted that some staff who work with vulnerable children (e.g. in schools) are not included in the list, unless they fall into any of the above categories, (e.g. are aged 50 years or over etc.). Boosters will not be offered until 180 days/6 months after the second dose of a COVID vaccine. People who are eligible for a COVID booster vaccination are being asked to be patient and to wait to be contacted by the NHS.

More information about the COVID booster vaccine is available on the [NHS website] and on the [BSW CCG website].

Regular Rapid Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tests for People who do not have Symptoms

The government has recently made regular rapid COVID tests available free to people who do not have coronavirus symptoms.

Research says that about 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others; the government and NHS is advising that as many people as possible do a rapid test twice a week (every 3 to 4 days) to check if they have the virus. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.

The test for people without symptoms of COVID-19 is called a rapid lateral flow test and the tests can give you a result in 30 minutes. They use a device similar to a pregnancy test and do not need to be sent to a lab. You can do a rapid test at home or at a rapid lateral flow test site. If you test positive, you and anyone you live with will need to self-isolate.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you need a different test called a PCR test. [Get a PCR test if you have symptoms of COVID-19 on GOV.UK].

How to get test kits
There are a number of different ways to get free rapid tests.

1. Order tests online
You can get a pack of 7 rapid tests sent to your home. You can only use this service if: -
• you do not have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
• you’re 11 or older
• you have not been told to self-isolate
• you cannot get tests from your work, school, college or university (ask them for rapid lateral flow tests)

Anyone in your household can use the tests. You do not need to order one pack for each person.

You cannot use this service to book the 2 tests you need to take when you’re in quarantine. You must [book a test from a private provider].

If you do tests at home, you'll need to report your results online or on the phone. [Order rapid lateral flow home test kits on GOV.UK]

2. Collect tests to do at home
You can collect up to 2 packs of 7 rapid tests from a local pharmacy or test site.

If you do tests at home, you'll need to report your results online or on the phone. [Find where to get rapid lateral flow tests]

3. Go to a test site
You can get tested at a rapid lateral flow test site.
If you go to a test site: -
• you may need an appointment, so check before you go
• a trained helper might be able to help you do the test
• you'll get a text or email with the result when it's ready
• [Find where to get a rapid lateral flow test] (tip: filtering your search to identify sites offering booking or no booking will identify test sites nearest to your postcode)

4. School, college and nursery testing
If you attend or work at a school, college or nursery you can get rapid tests through your school, college or nursery.

If you're in a childcare or support bubble with someone who attends or works at a school, college or nursery, you can get a rapid test at a rapid lateral flow test site or order tests to do at home. You're advised to do a test twice a week.
Primary school-age children and younger do not need to test.

5. Employee and university testing
Some employers and universities offer rapid tests. Ask your employer or university if they provide rapid tests.

If you have a Learning Disability, it’s not too late to get your COVID-19 Vaccine

People with a learning disability are being encouraged to get their COVID-19 vaccine if they haven’t already. Some people may think that it’s too late or they have missed out, but it is still possible to access the vaccine.

A set of accessible resources has been produced in collaboration with people with lived experience to support clinicians in communicating with people with a learning disability and their family carers: -

• [Covid Vaccine film] produced in collaboration with Skills for People and Learning Disability England
• [Easy read Covid vaccination leaflet]
• [Easy read What to expect after the vaccine leaflet]

• [Easy read adult consent form]

Support Available for Eligible School Families who have to Self-isolate

Wiltshire families are being reminded that financial support is available if they need to self-isolate as a household due to COVID-19, if they meet the eligibility criteria.

If a school or college pupil tests positive for COVID-19 this means the whole household will need to self-isolate for 10 days.

Affected families who are on low incomes and eligible for support can claim a £500 support payment from the Government for having to stay at home for 10 days. The information on eligibility and how to apply is available [HERE]

Claims can only be made up to 42 days after the first day of self-isolation with a support payment of £500, payable in a lump sum.

From 8th March 2021, parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can apply for a [Test and Trace Support Payment] or discretionary payment if they need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who is self-isolating. For more details and a description of eligibility, click [Test and Trace Support Payment].

The Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub Taking on Additional Role from 1st April 2021

From 1st April 2021, the Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub will take on an additional role of supporting those self-isolating due to a positive test, or as a close contact where they don't have friends and family to help. The Wellbeing Hub will be able to provide advice or support for individuals who are required to self-isolate and need practical, social and emotional support.

For those who do not have support and need help, the Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub can: -
• Put people in touch with community groups who can help collect and deliver essential supplies such as shopping or medication.
• Help to access a priority online shopping slot with Tesco or Iceland.
• Signpost to sources of financial support and food banks.
• Provide support for those experiencing loneliness.
• Help speak to the right people if someone is on a low income and eligible for financial support. For more information, visit GOV.UK: [Claiming financial support under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme]

The Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and on Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub contact details
Phone: 0300 003 4576

There is also a [COVID-19 Community Groups Directory] which has links to organisations providing help and support.

Morrisons Doorstep Delivery Service

Morrisons are offering a Doorstep Delivery service available to anyone who's self-isolating, to help them get the groceries they need.

Whether you're away at university or you're elderly or vulnerable, you can order the groceries you need over the phone and pay when they're delivered to your door the next day, by a colleague from your local Morrisons store.

This Doorstep Delivery service is now open 7 days a week. While delivery is free for elderly and vulnerable customers, there will be the option to contribute an optional £1.50 towards delivery. Find out more [HERE]

Helpline for Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic Families

Are you a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic child, young person, parent or carer, affected by Covid-19? Barnardo’s has set up a helpline called Boloh to help and support you. Boloh is Barnardo’s COVID-19 helpline and webchat for those 11+, if you are a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic child, young person, parent or carer, affected by Covid-19. You can speak to them about your worries, problems and stresses during this time, and they can provide emotional support, practical advice and signposting to other organisations who can provide further help.

If you’re a professional, you can also contact Boloh to discuss how to support a child or young person you are working with.

They are available to talk Mon-Fri from 10am-8pm, and Sat-Sun 10am-3pm.

Boloh helpline advisors can talk to you in English, Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi or Mirpuri, and their psychotherapists can provide therapeutic support in English, Hindi, Bengali, French, Punjabi, Greek and Spanish. They also have interpreters available for other languages.

Visit the [Boloh website] for more information: webpages can be translated into multiple languages by selecting your language when you visit the website.

Call Boloh on: 0800 1512605 or chat to them online.

Carers’ Allowance

If you want to apply for Carers’ Allowance, you can use this form to claim Carers’ Allowance by post if you can’t claim online. [APPLICATION FORM]

Advice for People Struggling to Pay Essential Bills

GOV.UK has a [NEWS LINK] with advice for those in difficulty with utility bills, or repayment commitments on credit cards, loans and mortgages, as a result of coronavirus. In response to the impact of coronavirus, the government agreed a raft of measures with providers across a range of sectors to ensure struggling consumers are treated fairly.

Explaining Vaccines to People with Learning Disabilities and/or Autism

NHS England have developed a [film for people with learning disabilities and/or autistic people about vaccination]. It is co-presented by a young person with a learning disability and describes what a vaccine is, how vaccines are made, why you should get a vaccine, whether a vaccine makes you ill and how to decide whether to have a vaccine.

Public Health England (PHE) has produced an Easy Read guide called: [A guide to your COVID-19 vaccination]

The Cabinet Office has produced a guide to Lockdown: [What you can and cannot do]

Codeword Scheme for Domestic Abuse Victims

From 14th January 2021, victims of domestic abuse will be able to access support from thousands of pharmacies across the UK. The government has teamed up with independent pharmacies and Boots to launch a domestic abuse codeword scheme.

The [Ask for ANI scheme] allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal that they need help and access support. By asking for ANI, a trained pharmacy worker will offer a private space where they can understand if the victim needs to speak to the police or would like help to access support services such as national or local domestic abuse helplines.

Easy Read Coronavirus Resources

Wiltshire Centre for Living has kindly shared details of some Easy Read resources that may be useful to anyone supporting young people with SEND during the ongoing pandemic. The resources have been produced by [].

o[Back in Lockdown]: an Easy Read poster that explains what we can and can’t do now we are back in lockdown.

o[Covid vaccine - who gets it first?]: an Easy Read poster that describes the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priority list.

o[Keeping safe]: an Easy Read poster that explains how to try to prevent catching COVID-19.

o[The NHS is open]: an Easy Read poster encouraging us to continue to seek medical help if we need it.

o[If you get ill]: an Easy Read poster explaining what to do if you have signs of coronavirus.

Lots more Easy Read posters are available via:, including: what a support bubble is, why we wear PPE, getting a coronavirus test, what food banks are and who they are designed to help, domestic abuse.

* Each poster is also available as an audio version *

Financial Support if Test and Trace Requires You to Self-Isolate because of COVID-19

If you or someone you know is on a lower income and are required to self-isolate because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for a support payment of £500, payable in a lump sum. To receive this payment, you must: -

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace after Monday 28th September 2020, and have a unique Test and Trace number provided by the NHS 7
  • be a Wiltshire resident
  • be employed or self-employed
  • have lost income by being unable to work from home while self-isolating
  • be receiving at least one of the following benefits: -

Universal Credit
Pension Credit
Housing Benefit
Income Support
Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
Income-based Employment Support Allowance
Working Tax Credit

For details on how to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment, please visit the Wiltshire Council website: Alternatively you can apply by calling 0300 456 0110 or email any questions to

Coping with COVID-19

Please see a [new animation] about national help and support for families and where to find it, reflecting services newly commissioned because of COVID-19.

This is one of four videos created by Respond with the theme of 'Coping with Covid'. Covid-19 has brought change and uncertainty for everyone, but families who have loved ones with a learning disability and/or who are autistic, are likely to find this period of time even more challenging than most. This animation includes contact information for national charities and organisations who may be able to help: [Coping with COVID animation].

Sudden - Support service for people bereaved by COVID-19 or in any other sudden ways now available

Hospitals and police forces are now able to refer people bereaved in sudden ways (including by COVID-19 and any sudden illness, incident, or suicide), from day one of bereavement, into a new, government-funded, England-wide, professional, free and specialist sudden bereavement service (set up as a pandemic response and for the long term).

The service, Sudden, is by a well-established charity that is experienced in helping suddenly-bereaved people through trained and named caseworkers, operating over the phone. Sudden provides free support and advocacy for up to 10 weeks, with a focus on safeguarding and wellbeing outcomes. Please visit their website: or call their helpline 0800 2600 400.

Exemptions from Wearing Face Coverings

The WPCC has previously shared information about those exempt from wearing face coverings on public transport etc. Please see our [newsletters] for further information about exemptions or the [Government Guidance] (section 5 covers exemptions).

We have been hearing from some parent carers who are distressed having been challenged by the public if their children or young people aren’t wearing face coverings. The WPCC does not as a rule promote services or products that are chargeable, but in recognition of these most unusual times, we are aware of face mask exemption cards, lanyards and clip badges that can be purchased from Disability Horizons. The WPCC is not endorsing these products by promoting them, and this is an exception to our normal practice. You can choose: -

  • Mask exemption travel card plus lanyard plus badge clip
  • Mask exemption travel card plus lanyard
  • Mask exemption travel card plus badge clip only

Prices vary between £3.95 and £5.95 (inc. VAT) depending on the option you choose. Please visit the [Disabled Horizons website] for more information. Please also remember you can download and print a free exemption template from the [WPCC website].

See, Hear, Respond - Barnardo’s COVID Support

Barnardo’s have launched the See, Hear, Respond service to support at-risk and vulnerable children and families during COVID-19, and help reduce potential levels of harm through online and digital support, face-to-face interventions, and targeted work with children who will need help reintegrating back into school.

The service is open to any child who does not have other support networks at this time who you are concerned about. There is no threshold of need or harm that has to be reached to receive a service. However, it is important to note that this service is not a substitute for existing statutory support. If you are concerned that a child is at risk of significant harm then a referral should be made to Wiltshire MASH. If you feel a child is likely to need long term child in need support then a referral into MASH is likely to be a more effective option. This service is aimed at those children who are not receiving support, or who have not met thresholds, but because of COVID-19 and wider problems are struggling and them and their families would benefit from some immediate help in the short term.

If you are concerned about your child/young person, or feel that a young person, (who can refer themselves), can be supported by this service, then please follow the following links for information, support and referrals: -

See, Hear Respond Hub Support: [Support Hub]
See, Hear, Respond Referral Parent/Carer: [Parent Carer Referral]
See, Hear, Respond Child/Young Person Referral: [Self Referral]

There is also a Freephone number for children and families who wish to self-refer, Free phone: 0800 157 7015

Face Covering Exception Rules for People with Learning Disabilities and Autistic People

As of Monday 15th June 2020, everyone must wear a face covering when on public transport if they can, but importantly there are exemptions for those who need it.

People with certain health conditions, disabled people, people who are autistic, people with learning disabilities and children under the age of 11 will not be required to wear a face covering if to do so would cause them distress, harm or cause problems for people who need to lip read or use facial expressions to communicate. This exemption also applies to others whose wearing of a face covering would cause distress, harm or communication problems with the person they are travelling with.
Photosymbols has produced an exemption card template for people to use: simply cut out the relevant card and keep it on you to show while travelling. For the full template click TEMPLATE.

NHS Every Mind Matters

Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. On this site there is expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing including topics such as: tips if you’re worried about coronavirus; sleep; looking after children/ young people; working from home; loneliness, etc.

Click on the following link to find out more - [Every Mind Matters]

Benefits Information – Coronavirus

The Department for Work and Pensions has a dedicated website with information regarding the coronavirus and benefits which it is updating daily: please [DWP website].

The website provides information about coronavirus and claiming benefits. Please check this page regularly for updates on the arrangements the Department for Work and Pensions is making to support those who are affected by coronavirus. Currently on the website, there is information about changes to Statutory Sick Pay, changes to Jobcentre appointments, changes to health and disability-related benefits’ assessments, and making a new claim.

DWP Update - September 2020

New Work and Health Programme - employment support for claimants who have been unemployed for at least 13 weeks
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is launching Job Entry: Targeted Support (JETS) on 5th October 2020.

The DWP is extending the existing Work and Health Programme (WHP) to provide early access to labour market support for those made unemployed due to Covid-19.

JETS provision is a new offer which is distinct and separate from WHP. JETS will provide light touch employment support for claimants who have been unemployed for at least 13 weeks and are in receipt of Universal Credit (UC), All Work Related Requirements (AWRR) group and New Style Jobseekers Allowance.

Participation in JETS is primarily voluntary, although work coaches may expect some claimants to attend the scheme as part of their Claimant Commitment. Claimants will remain on the provision for 6 months.

The JETS offer is based on getting participants into employment, building on providers’ links with employers at local level. It will include (but is not limited to): -

  • assessment of employment support needs
  • help with IT skills, job search, CV writing, interview support
  • skills analysis including identifying transferable skills to consider different employment sectors/routes and ways of working
  • broader confidence and self-efficacy building
  • support for anxieties about working in a Covid-19 environment including potential access to mental health and wellbeing support
  • signposting to skills, support and other support and training, including WHP and Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) if more intensive support needs are identified and they are eligible

DWP Update - June 2020

Sign Language Videos on Coronavirus and Benefit Changes
The Department for Work and pensions (DWP) has produced a range of British Sign Language videos on Coronavirus and benefit changes. These include new content for Universal Credit and Statutory Sick Pay.

You can view these videos on the [DWP YouTube Sign channel].

It is planned to add videos regarding Access to Work, PIP, Carer’s Allowance and Child Maintenance in the near future.

DWP Updates - 27th April 2020

Help if You are Looking for Work or Looking for Staff

From Monday 27th April, the DWP has launched new [JOBHELP] and [EMPLOYERHELP] websites. These offer labour market information for people looking for work now, and advice for employers to help recruit them.

Video Relay Service for Universal Credit

The Video Relay Service (VRS) has now been extended to people claiming Universal Credit. Over the coming months VRS will be further extended into all DWP services. VRS is already available for British Sign Language (BSL) people who claim DWP disability benefits as well as Access to Work.

VRS enables BSL people to contact DWP via a BSL interpreter. You simply use a video link accessed through your computer, smartphone or tablet. The interpreter will then speak to a DWP agent relaying the conversation by phone. There is no need for anyone to be in the same location and you do not have to book the service in advance.

This means that you and the DWP agent can have a telephone conversation in real time.

[Find out more]

New Style Employment and Support Allowance online claims

You now apply for New Style Employment and Support Allowance online, where you are not already claiming Universal Credit.

Making an application online instead of over the phone should streamline the process to allow greater access to claimants and speed up processing times.

People who are unable to use the new online service can continue to make an application over the phone and the normal reasonable adjustment process continues to apply for anyone who needs it, for example using Braille or large print communications.

For anyone who has applied for Universal Credit, or is already receiving Universal Credit, they should sign in to their Universal Credit account and use their online journal to inform their work coach or case manager about applying for New Style Employment and Support Allowance.

More information is on [GOV.UK]

DWP’s employment and benefits support
The [Employment and benefits support] website includes the latest guidance and messages on sick pay, existing benefit claims, new claims to benefit, self-employment, housing and more.