Shropshire Council

Information for carers during the coronavirus pandemic

Being an informal carer can be challenging at the best of times but at the moment, with the added pressure of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, it can be especially hard. That’s why it is important that informal carers know what support is available to them and how to get help.

Carer pass

We recognise and appreciate informal carers play a vital role in supporting the people they care for in Shropshire. As part of the support you provide as a carer you may have to make essential visits during this pandemic.

As informal carers do not have identification like paid care workers we can issue a carer pass so that carers can show police if they are stopped while out on essential visits. 

If you require a carer pass please call Margarete Davies, carer lead, Shropshire Council on 01743 255776 or email Margarete.Davies@shropshire.gov.uk                             

Shropshire Council coronavirus helpline - we’re here to help

Coronavirus helpline for non-health related enquiries – 0345 678 9028
8am to 6pm weekdays, 9am to 1pm Saturday
Email:  customerfirst@shropshire.gov.uk

Adult welfare and safety

Tel: 0345 678 9044 for concerns about a vulnerable adult’s safety or welfare, or advice about adult social care

Child welfare and safety

Tel: 0345 678 9021 for concerns about a child’s safety or welfare, or for family support

Support for carers in Shropshire

Shropshire Council have commissioned extra support from Taking Part and A4U to expand their current support service to include family carers, with a particular focus on learning disability and autism.

Taking Part – an independent service for people with learning disabilities

Taking Part are offering a range of support for informal, family carers of those with a learning disability which will include, but is not limited to:

Regular telephone support, a wellbeing check to find out how a carer is, are they getting the practical support they need and do they have any additional needs. They will signpost the carer to available support that is specific to their need, if it is not already in place. Officers can call during the day or early evening, whichever is most suitable for the carer so that they have time to talk.

If possible, Taking Part may be able to arrange for an advocate from their organisation to call the person they care for at the same time so that the carer can talk to them knowing that the person they care for is occupied and happy.

For those carers who have the technology Taking Part will establish a regular link up with other carers through a variety of measures such as an email group, WhatsApp or PenPals.

If you are a carer of a person with learning disabilities and would like to find out more please contact either Margarete Davies, Carer and Engagement Lead, Shropshire Council on 01743 255776 email: Margarete.Davies@shropshire.gov.uk or Taking Part by emailing: takingpart@takingpart.co.uk  or via their Facebook page

A4U and STACS

Shropshire Autism Hub

A4U and Shropshire and Telford Asperger’s carer’s support (STACS) work in partnership in the provision of Shropshire Autism Hub for adults on the autism spectrum.

A4U is the Lead organisation providing day to day management of the Autism Hub and primary contact with adult members of the Hub.

STACS provides Carer’s peer support at the Hub on a weekly basis and by telephone and email contact outside of Hub sessions.

A4U also support Carer’s with benefit issues and advice as well as working with them to provide support when problems arise, or sometimes mediate when necessary to improve understanding between carer’s and offspring supporting moves to developing independence.

Between the two organisations we can offer a range of support to Carer’s but above all else with an understanding of the specific issues facing parents of children on the spectrum, whatever their age.

If you are a Carer of a person on the autism spectrum and would like to find out more please contact A4U on 01743 539201 and leave a voicemail for A4U to contact you, they will return your call even if only a number is left. Messages can be left at any time and will be picked up as soon as a member of staff is available. You can also email shropshireautismhub@a4u.org.uk Alternatively, you can contact Margarete Davies, Carer and Engagement Lead, Shropshire Council on 01743 255776 email: Margarete.Davies@shropshire.gov.uk

Crossroads Together

Crossroads Together Carer Advisor Team in Shropshire are continuing to provide support to carers during Covid 19, ensuring carers are supported emotionally and linked in with organisations who can assist practically, for example with shopping or local neighbourhood groups. The support line for carers, 01743 341995, is available every week day for carers and professionals to seek advice and support.

We offer support via:

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Virtual sessions such as 'Time for a natter', quiz nights, book club and mindfulness.
  • 'Knock and natter' – face to face support, social distancing rule applies. Only available when government guidelines allow and there is a facility to stay 2m apart.

To find out more about how we can support you please contact the support line – 01743 341995 or look at our website.

Mobilise Shropshire

Mobilise Shropshire is here to support you in your caring role. We work with Shropshire Council to provide a range of free online services to support you, in addition to what is already on offer. Our toolkit of resources includes signing up for a daily or weekly e-support package; a five-part email course designed to help unpaid carers; virtual cuppa’s; private face book community; 1 to 1 chat; coaching; lockdown weekly planner as well as up to date information on other support for carers. Take a look and see how we can support you. Mobilise Shropshire is accessible on low speed (dial up) internet connections.

Age UK

Age UK Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin are still open and able to provide information, advice and support to older people and their families and carers. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic we have had to postpone or suspend some of our services. We apologise for any inconvenience or distress that this may be causing.

All our offices are closed to visitors, but if you call 01743 233 123 and leave a message with your name and telephone number, a member of our team will contact you as soon as they are able. Alternatively, you can email your message to enquiries@ageukstw.org.uk.

Help at Home: we are operating as normal and we are accepting new clients. Call 01743 233 788 for more information.

Visiting and befriending: our telephone buddy service is operating as normal and we're accepting new clients. Call 01743 233 123 for more information. All befriending visits have temporarily been replaced by telephone buddy calls.

Please see the Age UK website for more information on our services.

MIND

Shropshire Mind provides support for any person with emotional or mental health needs, including long term enduring mental health needs or those triggered by recent incidents. The service provides immediate support at the time of need in a dignified, confidential and respectful manner, tailoring its services to the needs of the individual person.

The charity provides support for those who are suffering poor mental health, their families, friends, carers and all professionals, with support or guidance needs.

Please see details of the current support Shropshire MIND can provide below:

  • Phone support - the office at Shropshire Mind is staffed from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday. If you, a friend or a loved one is struggling, please give us a ring on 01743 368647. There’s always someone to talk to who will listen with empathy. We'll do our best to support you and, if appropriate, signpost you to other services that may be of benefit.

    If you need support outside of our office hours, please contact the Access team on 0300 124 0365.

  • Calmer Café - a drop-in service for people who are struggling with their mental health, who need a safe place to talk, receive support and be amongst others. Situated upstairs at Shropshire Mind, Shrewsbury, from 6pm until 10pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Due to restrictions in numbers under Covid 19 guidelines, we ask you to give us a call on 01743 368647 prior to visiting so that we can book you a place.

  • Drop-in - due to restrictions under Covid 19, Shropshire Mind’s daily drop-in service will be closed until further notice. If you require phone support please contact us on 01743 368 647
  • Outreach support is available to support people in the community who live with long-term mental ill health. If you feel that you may benefit from this service, please give us a call on 01743 368647, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm or email: manager.shropshiremind@gmail.com web: www.shropshiremind.org/

Shropshire MIND is there for everyone and if we can’t provide the right support for people we will find a relevant service in the locality that will.

Shropshire Psychological Therapies

Feeling stressed, low or worried? Seek help early and call 0300 123 6020 to self-refer or visit the website. Please see the poster for more information

For further information on looking after your mental health and wellbeing follow this link.

Alzheimer’s Society

Dementia Connect, the Alzheimer's Society's new personalised support service, means you're only one click or call away from the dementia support you need.

It’s free, easy to access, and puts you in touch with the right support, from local help to phone and online advice. Helping make things easier.

Telephone:0333 150 3456 or email: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementiaconnect

Support with financial pressures

If you feel under financial pressure and need some advice or support about your financial situation the following organisations can help you:

Citizens Advice Shropshire – still here to help you

For the safety of everyone you can’t visit our offices, but we can still help you:

  • On the web: citizensadvice.org.uk
  • On the phone: Advice line Shropshire: 03444 99 11 00 (Mon-Fri 10am to 4pm)
  • Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline: 0808 223 1133 Text phone: 18001 0808 223 1133

Universal credit: help to claim

We can support you in the early stages of your universal credit claim, from the application through to your first payment.

A4U telephone advice service

Please note that our staff are no longer providing face to face appointments in the office in relation to welfare benefits advice but are working remotely via our secure network.

We can support you with advice on welfare benefits, claims and appeals and help with form filling for benefits.

At A4U we empower individuals to help themselves wherever possible so, as we're unable to arrange a face to face meeting at the moment, we'll send self-help information tailored to your situation in an easy to understand format. This will support the advice given by phone and may include explanatory leaflets, detailed guidance sheets and letter templates as appropriate.

Contact us on 01743 539201 (please leave a message and we'll respond to it as soon as a member of staff becomes available) or email: advice@a4u.org.uk

For more information visit the A4U website.

Age UK benefits advice for those of retirement age

During this challenging time Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin’s highly trained benefits advisors are continuing to offer information and advice on all aspects of welfare benefits for those of state pension age.

We can help you to maximise your income by checking your benefit entitlement and we can assist with applications. Our service is free, independent and confidential.

If you'd like help with your benefits, call Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin on 01743 233 123 and leave a message with your name and phone number. An advisor will call you back to book a phone appointment.

See more information on the Age UK, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin website

Crossroads Together

The Shropshire office is closed in line with government guidelines but the Carers Support Service operates with the carer advisors working remotely. The service continues to offer individually tailored advice and information, which includes assistance, over the phone with applying for carer-related benefits and blue badges.

Please contact Crossroads Together if you need support with these benefits on 01743 341995.

Department of Works and Pensions Mercia Team - support for citizens who are struggling

A new triage tool 'Find out what you can do if you’re struggling because of coronavirus (Covid-19)' has been developed. It’s available on the Gov.UK website. It covers a range of circumstances including feeling unsafe, going in to work, paying bills or being unemployed, getting food, having somewhere to live and mental health and wellbeing. Users won't get direct support from the government or organisations through this service but will get contact details for services who can help.

Coronavirus employment and benefit information

Latest information on the support available from DWP can be found on the Gov.UK website.

If you are on a low budget, need to save money or need help accessing low cost food visit  Shropshire Larder (shropshirelarder.org.uk) - the most comprehensive directory of services for people living in Shropshire on a low budget. It has information on how to access a foodbank or community food project, and how to eat well on a budget. It also covers how to get support with benefits, housing, and debt.  

Discounts for Carers

Discounts for Carers offers a range of online (and in-store) discounts across retailers in several sectors (eg food, utilities, finance, motoring). It also offers a cashback card that allows members to save up to 12% across 50 popular retailers. 

Discounts are available to all carers including employees, self-employed, retired, unpaid or volunteer carers. You can register for free on the their website.

Information regarding supermarkets offer during pandemic

Most supermarkets are opening as normal now. However, the majority are still restricting the amount of shoppers in the store at any one time. Some, such as Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose have recently introduced restrictions on the amount of individual products you can buy. Dedicated shopping times are still in place for many of the supermarkets.

Most of the major supermarkets are offering volunteer shopping cards which you can purchase online and give to a volunteer to pay for the shopping they do for you.

For more information on coronavirus and food see the guide for consumers on coronavirus (COVID) and food.

Information on how to withdraw cash

How do you get cash out to pay your neighbour for your shopping when you’re self isolating? Find details of how to withdraw cash through the Post Office service.

Guidance on testing for Covid-19

Take a look at the latest government guidance on testing for COVID 19.

When to apply

If you have symptoms, get a test as soon as possible. You need to get the test done within the first eight days of showing symptoms. Book a visit to a test site to have the test today or order a home test kit if you can't get to a test site. On days one to seven of your symptoms, you can get tested at a site or at home. If you're ordering a home test kit on day seven, do it by 3pm. On day eight, you need to go to a test site. It's too late to order a home test kit.

Stay at home if you have symptoms

  • You must stay at home (self-isolate) if you have symptoms, whether or not you get a test. Find out how long to self-isolate.
  • Anyone in your support bubble must also stay at home. A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.

What the test involves

This test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud. It checks if you have the virus now. You can do the swab yourself (if you are aged 12 or over) or someone can do it for you. Parents or guardians have to swab test children aged 11 or under.

Getting a test for someone else

If other people you live with have symptoms, you can order tests for up to three of them. If you're applying for a test for someone else, and the person is aged 13 or over, check they're happy for you to get a test for them.

Getting your test result

You'll get a text or email with your result when it's ready. If you use the NHS Covid-19 app, you may also get your result in the app. Most people get their test results the day after taking the test. Some results might take longer, but you should get them in 72 hours.

Government guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends and family

The government has issued guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends and family

Here’s a reminder of the key points of the guidance to minimise the risk to you and the person you care for:

  • Social distancing – remember, when out and about, stay two metres apart from others
  • Wash your hands often throughout the day with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (two rounds of Happy Birthday to you), ensure you use your own towel to dry your hands. This includes when you arrive at the home of the person you care for, if you do not live with them, or have been out
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home like door handles and light switches
  • Don't share towels, including hand towels and tea towels
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, throw the tissue straight into the bin and wash your hands; if you have no tissue use the crook of your arm – do not use your hand
  • Avoid touching your face
  • If you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it’s hard to stay away from other people. There are some places where you must wear a face covering, such as on public transport, in shops, or when you go to hospital appointment or visit someone in hospital
  • Give the person you care for information about who they should call if they feel unwell, how to use NHS 111 online coronavirus service, and leave the number for NHS 111 prominently displayed
  • Do not visit if you feel unwell
  • Make a contingency/emergency plan in case you must self-isolate or cannot provide care in the same way as before. Crossroads Together can help you with completion, or you can find more information from Carers UK, which gives examples of different sources of support that can strengthen your plan, such as drawing on networks of community and family support, and what technology can be used to support someone you look after
  • Keep up to date with the latest guidance - information may change quickly
  • Look after your own health and wellbeing. Mind has put together useful resources for people who need to stay at home, and there's the local support mentioned in the Support in Shropshire section
  • If you or the person you live with has any of the main symptoms of coronavirus: a high temperature, continuous cough, loss or change to your sense of taste and/or smell get a test as soon as possible. You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test results – only leave your home to have a test. Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or 48 hours before they started. Use the NHS 111 service if you can't manage the symptoms at home or you require urgent medical care. The NHS website contains coronavirus information and guidance
  • Contact us to find out what support is available

Government guidance: providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults

The government has issued guidance for providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults. This includes a helpful section on supporting the person you care for through change, encompassing communication, with links to easy to read information, a wash your hands rap video clip, social distancing and coping with bereavement.

For more local support for you, the carer, please see the Taking Part or A4U in partnership with STACS sections of this page.

Government guidance on making a support bubble with another household

A support bubble is a support network which links two households. You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form one. This means not everyone will be able to form a support bubble.

Check the government guidance - Making a support bubble with another household for eligibility criteria.

Government guidance – face masks – when to wear one, exemptions and how to make your own

Guidance explains what face coverings are, how they reduce the transmission of coronavirus, the recommended locations to use them and how they should be safely used and stored. This information is based on current scientific evidence and is subject to change.

This information relates to the use of face coverings in public spaces where social distancing is not always possible. It is important to follow all the other government advice on coronavirus, including staying safe outside your home.

Government coronavirus outbreak FAQS – what you can and can’t do

Covid-19 vaccination

On 6 January 2021 the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) updated their advice on priority groups for Covid-19 vaccination and unpaid carers now fall under priority 6 - persons aged 16-64 years with underlying health conditions (footnote 3):

'Other groups at higher risk, including those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, should also be offered vaccination alongside these groups.'

We urge all unpaid carers to advise their GP practices that they are providing a caring role. This makes it easier for the practice to offer practical things to unpaid carers such as vaccinations and health checks.

Flu vaccination

If you are receiving Carers Allowance or are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person, whose welfare may be at risk if you become ill, you are eligible for a free flu jab. If you feel this applies to you, you have the right to request one from your GP surgery or local pharmacist. Find more information on flu vaccinations here.

Coronavirus job retention scheme (furlough)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021. Please see the latest government guidance for changes to the scheme.

Visiting people in hospital

To help stop the spread of coronavirus, most hospitals have stopped or significantly limited visits. Check the hospital's website to find out what their advice is. You can search for hospital details if you're not sure what they are.

If you do visit someone in hospital, wear something that covers your nose and mouth.

All visiting to the Royal Shrewsbury and Princess Royal hospitals has been suspended until further notice except for a few exceptions. Please see exceptions to the new restrictions here. Anyone wishing to visit one of the County’s community hospitals in Bridgnorth, Bishops Castle, Ludlow or Whitchurch or the Redwoods Centre in Shrewsbury or Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt in Gobowen should check with the specific hospital or ward to find out their current visiting arrangements prior to arriving.

Anyone given permission to visit a patient, or who is attending the hospital as an outpatient, will need to wear one of the hospital-provided face masks during the whole of their visit to reduce the spread of infection.

Find out more about visiting in Shropshire.

Support for the bereaved – call 0345 678 9028

Bereavement Support for Shropshire Residents – Call 0345 678 9028

A service to support people who are experiencing and suffering from bereavement and loss. The offer includes free counselling and it is open to any Shropshire resident who has been bereaved by either a recent death or previous loss. It includes bereavement by suicide. The Bereavement Support Service is operated by Shropshire Council and community voluntary partners Samaritans, CRUSE, Severn Hospice and Crane Quality Counselling. The service can be accessed through self-referral by calling 0345 678 9028.

The Bereavement Support Service is accompanied by the launch of a "grief and bereavement during COVID19" booklet which provides a compassionate overview of coping with loss, feelings that may be experienced, supporting others who are grieving and links to help and information. A secondary booklet provides a practical guide for the process following a death and what has changed due to the pandemic. Digital versions of these resources are available from the Shropshire Council website bereavement page.

Please see the government guidance on What to do when someone dies during the Covid 19 pandemic which explains the next steps, answers some of your questions, and guides which may be useful if you have lost someone during the pandemic.

Looking after pets during the pandemic

The Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) have produced guidance for safely walking other people’s dogs during the Coronavirus pandemic.

More information can be found on their website.