Coronavirus advice and support - Letter from your local MP Chris Skidmore
As the local MP, I wanted to update you on the Coronavirus outbreak and to reassure you that help and support is available during these unprecedented times.
I appreciate as every day passes how increasingly difficult it is to continue to stay at home and keep up social distancing. But it is important that we continue to follow Government guidance – based on the advice of our country’s Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Officer – to only exercise close to home and avoid any situation that makes social distancing difficult to achieve. This is all about trying to slow the spread of the disease, reduce the pressure on our precious NHS and to, ultimately, protect the vulnerable and save lives.
With so much advice and support out there, it can sometimes be difficult to navigate, so I wanted to write to you to help:
The Shielded List
Those residents classed as the most clinically vulnerable, who live with a range of conditions affecting their immune and respiratory systems for example, will have received a letter from the NHS instructing them to shield for 12 weeks. This should contain details on how to contact the Government website and helpline to register their position. This group, known as the Shielded List, are eligible for nationally organised home deliveries of essential food if they do not have the resources or links to arrange it themselves, and local arrangements have been made with the NHS and pharmacies to ensure the medication they need can be delivered to their door. South Gloucestershire Council has also set up a special team to support them if necessary. If you need help or have questions about your shielding letter or think you should have received one or are facing difficulties or a changing situation, please either email email@example.com or call the team on 01454 86 4040.
What has been truly wonderful to see has been all of the spontaneous local volunteer groups that have sprung up to support people in their local neighbourhoods, whether that’s with help shopping, picking up medicine or phone chats. The Council has created an information pack and webpage to help support these groups which can be accessed by visiting www.southglos.gov.uk/communityaid. This webpage also includes a directory of all the volunteer groups available to support you throughout the area. The Council and its voluntary sector partner organisations - Southern Brooks Community Partnerships and CVS South Gloucestershire - are working together with these groups and other organisations within the community to make sure that people can access the help and support they need to stay safe and well. Southern Brooks can help put you in touch with local groups in your area, if you need help. They can also provide practical support such as shopping, collection of prescriptions, dog walking etc if it's not possible for other groups to do this. The helpline is available 8am to 8pm, 7 days per week on 07773 209943 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you need care at home you can contact the council direct on 01454 868007 for adults and if you have concerns about a child please call 01454 866000. The council asks lease note lines are busy and we are prioritising the most vulnerable.
Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND)
The council has launched a new support line and email address for parents and carers of children with SEND. Parents and carers can contact the council with their queries by email: SENDCovidEnquiry@southglos.gov.uk or by phone 01454 866123 (staffed between 9am – 1pm Monday to Friday). They aim to respond within 48 hours.
If this letter hasn’t addressed your question(s) so far, answers to other queries about support in these uncertain times can be found at www.southglos.gov.uk/coronavirus or by telephoning the Council’s general Covid-19 helpline on 01454 868009.
I will continue to be available to offer support and advice through my constituency office. You can get in touch via email on email@example.com or by phone on 01179 081 524 - please do leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. For local Coronavirus advice and updates from me, please see my website www.chrisskidmore.com
In summary, there is a wealth of help, advice and support available, which is improving all the time, and we will get through this if we support each other. As Her Majesty The Queen said in her recent speech:
“While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will succeed - and that success will belong to every one of us. We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”