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Information and sources of help, advice and support in Scotland

This section contains information for carers about advice and help that is available in Scotland to support carers. It is intended to complement information produced by Carers UK to support carers across all four nations with specific information that only applies to carers. It is not intended to provide medical information or guidance on coronavirus which can be found at NHS Inform

The Scottish Government now has a dedicated page for information for carers here.

This section includes a range of information and downloads with links to organisations who can help with, for example, food deliveries, carer and young carer services support available and information on help with heating costs, the Scottish Welfare Fund and emergency planning.  

Help with Practicalities

National Helpline

The Scottish Government have launched a new national helpline for people at higher risk from COVID19 who do not have family or community support. The new helpline can be contacted on 0800 111 4000 between 9am and 5pm.  

The service offers help to those who do not have family or existing community support who are: over 70, disabled, require the support of mental health services, are pregnant or receive the flu jab for health reasons

This service is in addition to localised support already available for people who have received letters advising them to shield themselves. However, any of those in the shielding category who are not yet receiving assistance can also access support via this new helpline.

If you are a BSL user or use text relay services click here to read our article on how to access this service.

Local support organisations

The download below also has details of various local support organisations that can help.  It is not intended to be comprehensive. Local councils/partnerships with their local volunteer centres have established a range of solutions to help people who are self isolating, shielding or social distancing and their carers and we have listed the link to reach each in the document below.  You can also visit our local support directory or call the National Helpline

Note the document below will open in the same window so use your back button to come back to this page.

COVID 19 help organisations
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People at Higher Risk

People who are shielding

The Scottish Government has information online for people who are shielding and their carers which includes details of support organisations. People who have been asked to "shield" are those at the very highest risk and specific arrangements have been made to offer support. People in Scotland have been asked to keep shielding until 31st July and the Scottish Government has provided some easing of shielding restrictions and will regularly update people affected.  You can read more here about the latest update to people who are to shielding in Scotland. 

If you have received a letter about this you will be provided with details of your local support service. You will also be given details of a text message SMS Shielding Service if you need to arrange delivery of a free weekly grocery pack and/or medication. It also enables you to register for priority supermarket delivery slots. If you cannot join the SMS Shielding Service because you do not have a mobile phone you can get this help by calling 0800 111 4000. Read more on

If you or the person you care has not been included in the shielded category but you feel that they or you should be, you should talk to your GP.

People who are not shielded but are at high risk

As noted above, for those at high risk without family or community support, a national helpline has also been set up: 0800 111 4000 to help offer support with practical issues such as shopping and picking up medicines and to link individuals with other support in their communities.

Specific information as been produced by NHS Inform to give advice for people with specific medical conditions.  Click here to read more.  If you feel you need more information about coronavirus but do not have symptoms, there is a free general information helpline which can be reached on 0800 028 2816.  The helpline is open from 8.00am to 10.00pm each day. 

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Local Carers Centres

Local carers centres are physically closed but they are still providing support via telephone and email.  Many are developing online support and activities.  Some have grants and other funds such as the Time to Live fund available to help carers. Click here to visit our online support directory which has details of all centres in Scotland. 

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Young Carers Services

Local young carers services are physically closed but they are still providing support through phone, email and online.  The document below provides key contact details for these services. 

Note that this will open in the same window so use your back button to come back to this page.

Young Carers Services
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Short Breaks

Over the coming weeks it is inevitable that short breaks services will not be running as normal, if at all. All over the world organisations are looking at how they can deliver things differently. Shared Care Scotland have started to pull together a list of short breaks for strange times. These include everything from online courses, virtual museums, exercise programmes, read-alongs, and websites for children and young people, as well as support services that are delivering online. Visit the Shared Care Scotland website to find out more.

The Scottish Government's carers information has further details on other support available. This includes grants through the Time to Live Fund available at local carers centres and for families with a disabled child, the Family Fund's Take a Break Fund will open at 12 noon on 18 May for applications. 

Click here for Scottish Government information about these and other support for breaks.

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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Carers in Scotland can request personal protective equipment (PPE) to support their caring role. The national carer organisations, including Carers Scotland, have produced a guide for carers about PPE which aims to answer frequently asked questions.  You can download this below. 

The Scottish Government has also provided detailed guidance for carers on PPE and and how to access it.  Click here to read the guidance.

In the first instance, you should contact your local carers centre – use our directory to find your nearest centre.

PPE for unpaid carers
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Coronavirus Testing

Testing for coronavirus is now for anyone over the age of 5 across the UK. The test determines whether someone currently has the virus or not, and is a key part of the Scottish Government’s Test & Protect strategy. The national carer organisations, including Carers Scotland, has produced a briefing which provides the key points on testing that unpaid carers should be aware of.

The coronavirus test is for anyone over the age of 5 who has symptoms of coronavirus. Symptoms are: continuous cough; fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater); loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste. More information on symptoms and how to manage them can be found on NHS Inform.

Testing briefing
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Scottish Welfare Fund

Families and individuals in Scotland facing emergency situations can apply for a Crisis Grant from their local authority through the Scottish Welfare Fund. An additional £45 million for the Scottish Welfare Fund has been announced, which more than doubles the current £35.5m Fund. 

To find out more about the Scottish Welfare Fund and how you might apply visit here

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Mental Health

WellbeingWe know this is a difficult time for everyone's mental health and wellbeing, and the strain for carers can be even more so. We have developed tips for carers on protecting your mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.  Find them here. 

Digital Wellbeing Hub

A new digital wellbeing hub has been set up to help unpaid carers, staff, volunteers, and their families access relevant support, and self-care and wellbeing resources as they respond to the #coronavirus (#COVIDー19) pandemic. Carers can access this at:

Breathing Space

If you are starting to feel overwhelmed, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and speak to someone you trust, whether that’s a friend, a family member, your GP or a helpline such as Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 or NHS 24 on 111.  The Breathing Space website has a range of information about mental wellbeing and links to other organisations.  It also provides information on accessing their support if you require BSL intepretation.

ClearyourHeadTwitterClear Your Head

Clear Your Head has a range of hints and tips to support your mental health and wellbeing during these uncertain times.  To visit the dedicated website, click here.


Other sources of information

  • The Mental Health Foundation provide generic advice including information on e.g. staying connected with family and friends; being active; tips on stress management and on keeping a daily routine. Click here
  • For children and young people, Young Scot have published an online resource containing advice, and also links to other help and support: 
  • For those suffering with an eating disorder, support and advice can be found here 
  • For those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), tips on how to keep well can be found here
  • People with autism or carers of people with autism can contact Scottish Autism who provide advice via email and a call-back service
  • NHS Inform have a range of information about your mental wellbeing including self help guides and links to organisations you can talk to. Click here for more information.

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Emergency Planning

Planning for an emergency or contingency should you be unable to care during this period is important.  Enable Scotland have produced an emergency planning toolkit to help carers. The emergency planning toolkit will help you create an emergency plan. By answering ‘Who, What Why, Where and When’, you will be able to plan for any unforeseen circumstances.Click here for more information.

There is also further information on creating a contingency plan here.

You can also contact your local carers centre should you need advice and support on emergency planning.  Information on their arrangements and contact details are listed earlier on this page.

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Help with Heating Costs

The Scottish Government have been working with the UK Government, Energy UK and Ofgem to ensure energy suppliers support vulnerable customers, particularly those on prepayment meters who may struggle to top up their account.  We would urge people who are having difficulties topping up their pre-payment meters to contact their supplier in the first instance, all of whom have committed to taking extra steps to support customers at this time. 

We would advise anybody concerned with their fuel bills to contact HES on its free phone number, 0808 808 2282, or online here

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Volunteering Ready Scotland has advice and information on volunteering and community activities. 

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