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Practical guidance - FAQs

You can use our online local directory to find out if there are any specific carers’ organisations in your area, as a starting point. Also check out whether there are any Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK groups near you.

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What support is available where I live?

In England: If you're at high risk and struggling to organise essential supplies for yourself or for someone who is very vulnerable, you can register for support through the NHS Responder Scheme. Call  0808 196 3646 to make a referral or seek support for yourself.

In Scotland: For news of the latest helpline for those who need assistance, see this page. On our Carers Scotland  website, we also bring together some very useful sources of help such as wellbeing support. For those seeking information about specific medical conditions, there is additional, detailed guidance on this page of the Gov.scot site.

In Wales: To request a free weekly food box, please call the special number for your local authority, which will be contained in the letter you received from the Chief Medical Officer. Contact your pharmacy if you need support to receive your medicines. Further up-to-date guidance and helpful resources are available on the Public Health Wales website.

In Northern Ireland: A freephone helpline is now available for all citizens to access advice, help and guidance. Call 0808 802 0020 (9am-5pm), email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text: ACTION to 81025.

Wherever you live in the UK, you may find it helpful to find out about what local support is available in your area by using our Carers UK online directory for care support.


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Where can I find accessible resources about COVID-19 guidance?

If you have accessibility needs or care for someone who has, you can get support with claiming benefits and pensions. Please see this guidance for further information.

A range of COVID-19 guidance in accessible formats has been pulled together by Hounslow Council on this page. This includes translations of key information in different languages, easy-read versions and helpful sources of support.


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Self isolation; social distancing; and shielding: what are the differences?

Self isolation: When you have symptoms of coronavirus and need to stay well away from anyone else for seven days if you live alone (14 days if living with others - and they too need to self-isolate for this time, even without symptoms). If you are living with someone vulnerable, see if they can stay somewhere else for 14 days. See the government's guidance for more information. 

Social distancing: You must remain at least two metres apart from anyone else and stop face-to-face contact with anyone else outside your household unless you are a key worker, which includes being a carer who needs to provide essential care to someone else. Only go out when you have to, for example, for essentials like food and for exercise (no more than once a day). Use telephone or online services to contact your GP and take particular care if you are at higher risk. See the governent's guidance.  

Shielding: Where you need to stay at home for at least 12 weeks because you are in the highest risk group. There is support for anyone in this situation who needs it – call 0800 028 8327 (0800 111 4000 in Scotland). 

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