Swindon council media release logo

A package of support measures is in place for local people who have been identified by the NHS as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.

Thousands of Swindon residents will receive a letter from the Government’s National Shielding Team over the coming days providing advice on what they should do during the current lockdown.

Clinically extremely vulnerable residents will be told they should refrain from going to shops or pharmacies and only leave their homes for exercise. They will be invited to sign up to a national database to request any support they need, including access to priority shopping and/or support from their council.

In Swindon, those residents who ask for support will receive a phone call from Swindon Borough Council’s Live Well Team to find out what assistance and support they need during this time, including access to priority online shopping.

Residents who have no other support network to fall back on, will also be able to call on the Council to do their shopping for them and deliver it to their door.

Wellbeing advice will be offered to residents, while they will also be directed to additional local support services. A telephone befriending service will be available to those who have no family and friends to turn to.

The Council reactivated its shielding support service for local residents last week after the Borough was placed in Tier 4 restrictions.

Under the support package, local people recently added to the national Shielded Patient List will receive a letter from the Council identifying the support available to them.

Those people who made contact with the Council during the November lockdown will also receive a phone call to check in on them and remind them of the support on offer.

A range of support measures are also available on the Council’s webpage at www.swindon.gov.uk/coronavirus and vulnerable residents can find information on how to access essential food, household supplies and prescriptions by visiting www.swindon.gov.uk/helpandsupport

Anyone who is in urgent need of food and essentials and does not have the funds to pay or anyone to support them, can apply to the Council’s Emergency Assistance Fund online at www.swindon.gov.uk/emergencyhelp or by calling 01793 445500. Each application is considered on its own merits.

Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “We know there will be many people in Swindon with underlying health conditions who will be incredibly anxious at being asked to shield once again. Many of them have no support network or family to call on, but we will ensure they are not left on their own.

“What this pandemic has shown us is that we are incredibly lucky in Swindon to have an army of council staff, volunteers, community and charity groups who will go above and beyond to help those people in our communities who need it most.

“Whether that is delivering shopping to the isolated or providing a friendly phone call, we are here to help and support them.”