Community help, advice and volunteering
Latest advice for those shielding
Since January 2021, cases of COVID-19 have fallen significantly across the country, reducing the risk of catching the virus for everyone, including the most vulnerable. Shielding has only ever been a temporary measure to protect the most vulnerable during peaks of the pandemic. The latest peak has now passed, and the prevalence of the virus is now low enough that we can advise people no longer need to shield.
The Government has outlined its roadmap out of the lockdown, with a gradual easing of restrictions over the next few months that will apply to everyone. In addition, the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out to everyone, with prioritisation based on the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). This will help pave the way for restrictions to be safely lifted.
Although the advice to shield has ended, clinically extremely vulnerable people must continue to follow the rules that are in place for everyone.
We are also advising clinically extremely vulnerable people to continue to take extra precautions to protect themselves. You are advised to follow the practical steps described below to minimise your risk of exposure to the virus.
How to get help and support
People in need to help and advice should go to Cumbria County Council's website to find help quickly. Organisations from across the county have contributed to the online information, which includes a new search tool, and support for people struggling to feed themselves or their families, debt and housing advice, benefits and financial grants, mental wellbeing and more. There is also a list of different mental health and wellbeing support options in Cumbria on this section of our website.
For residents who need urgent help finding food and essential items, or if they are struggling to cope with their current situation for whatever reason, they are advised to call the county council’s Support Helpline on 0800 783 1966 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 4.30pm).
People can report concerns about children in the following ways:
- Call the Cumbria Safeguarding Hub on 0333 240 1727
- Call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000
- If a child is at immediate risk of harm call 999.
- Children can contact childline.org.uk if they do not feel safe on 0800 1111
Protecting against domestic violence
If you are suffering from domestic violence you do not have to suffer in silence.
If you need to leave your home contact our homelessness team on 0303 123 1702. You can also call the police on 101 or in an emergency 999.
With more people at home, there is the chance that people may see and hear their neighbours more. Please respect each other.
There are some simple things you can do to be a better neighbour, such as discussing with them (from more than 2m apart of course) your requirements if you need some quiet time for work. Loud music late at night is also likely to cause trouble.
And if you can't resolve the issue, then give us a call on 0303 123 1702.
Volunteering in your community
Vulnerable people and elderly people in your community who are staying at home, self-isolating or shielding may need the support of volunteers - could you help?
If you want to help and volunteer your services, register with the GoodSam app online .
Food Bank support
If you can't make it to any of the Food Bank drop-off points, you can donate money direct to them via their give.net web page .
Advice for volunteer groups
The latest government guidance for staying at home and away from others says people may leave home 'to provide care or to help a vulnerable person' - we hope this will reassure people that it is still OK to shop for neighbours, friends or family members. We would advise volunteers to make themselves familiar with the guidance below and the latest guidance on gov.uk.
More advice is available via these websites:
- Supporting others in your community during COVID-19 with shopping
- Access resources from Cumbria CVS
- Community groups and COVID-19: what you need to know about data protection
Other groups that offer help and assistance
Cumbria County County is coordinating efforts to help communities. There website has a wealth of information for residents.
The are many established community and volunteer groups such as Cumbria CVS, as well as Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF) who may be able to provide financial help.
People First, in conjunction with other agencies, has put in place a Covid-19 support service for people with learning disabilities or autism. Called Keeping People Connected, it includes check and chat calls to understand and assess their current situation, including issues such as health and well-being and food supplies. The contact is Chris Tolley by email
Keswick Lions and Rotary has a fund to help local people facing financial difficulty.
Beware of fake Covid marshals and medical professionals
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has received reports of incidences involving people pretending to be COVID marshals and medical professionals to gain access to people's homes.
This particular version of the scam is an updated form of one witnessed during the pandemic in the summer involving fake healthcare professionals offering bogus COVID-19 tests to gain access to homes.
The marshals, officially called COVID-19 secure marshals, do not have the power to enforce social distancing, issue fines, or the right to enter homes.