Name: COVID-19 FAQ
Description: COVID-19 FAQ

COVID-19 FAQ

Coronavirus FAQs

New national restrictions from 5 November, visit Gov.uk for further information.

The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.

More FAQ's

Where can I get more information about Coronavirus?

What food emergency help is there?

Where can I find local Food Banks?

Where can I find supermarket opening times?

Can I get help with my medical prescription?

Where can I get help in an emergency?

Can I go to the dentist, my GP or another medical appointment?

How do I report someone I am concerned about?

Where can I get help with my finances, including paying my rent, mortgage or bills?

What is the latest guidance on spending time outdoors?

Where can I get gas and electricity top ups?

How can citizens advice help me?

How do I claim Universal Credit?

I feel like my mental health is suffering. Where can I get help?

How can I stay healthy and sleep better?

I’m worried about becoming homeless, what support can I access?

Which other organisations are providing help locally?

I live in Dartford, how do I contact my local Councillor?

Where can I find the latest Government guidelines FAQs?

Where can I find the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy?

Can I meet up with friends and family outside my household?


Where can I get more information about Coronavirus?

This is a fast moving situation and the latest information is changing frequently.

Useful government links include:

Gov.uk/coronavirus

What has changed since 9 September 2020

Advice for vulnerable people


Can I still get help from the Council?

We are connecting people with the appropriate specialist organisations who are providing support on the ground.

We are working in partnership with the Healthy Living Centre (01322 311265) and Kent Together (0300 041 9292) to assist those in need.


What food emergency help is there?

If you are in need of urgent food support please contact the Council’s Emergency Hub on 01322 343244 during normal office hours

OR

Kent Together (0300 041 9292) out of hours.

We are working in partnership with the Healthy Living Centre to support those in emergency food need.


Where can I find local Food Banks?

Please see here a list of Resident Food Support Contacts and Information


Where can I find supermarket opening times?


Can I get help with my medical prescription?

We are working in partnership with the Healthy Living Centre (01322 311265) and Kent Together (0300 041 9292) to assist those in need.


Where can I get help in an emergency?

Domestic Abuse/Violence
If you are suffering from domestic abuse it is important you tell someone.
If your life is in danger or a crime is being committed call the police on 999

National Domestic Violence Helpline
Freephone: Tel: 0808 2000 247 (24 hour support)
Please see Gov.uk for information on support for victims of domestic abuse.

Food Emergencies
We are working in partnership with the Healthy Living Centre (01322 311265) and Kent Together (0300 041 9292) to assist those in need.

Homelessness
Porchlight
24 hour Helpline
Tel: 0800 567 7699

Medical Emergencies
When to call 999
Call 999 in a medical emergency. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.
Medical emergencies can include:

Call 999 immediately if you or someone else is having a heart attack or stroke. Every second counts with these conditions.
Also call 999 if you think someone has had a major trauma, such as after a serious road traffic accident, a stabbing, a shooting, a fall from height, or a serious head injury.
Website: When-to-call-999

Dental
In the event of a dental emergency such as severe facial swelling or uncontrollable bleeding, call your local dentist for advice/triage service/referral information.

Mental Health Emergencies/Crisis
Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team  
Safe and effective community based treatment for individuals 18 and above experiencing mental ill health crisis
Tel: 01322 622023
Website: www.kmpt.nhs.uk

Mental Health Matters 24/7 Helpline
Tel: 0800 107 0160

Samaritans
24 hours a day 7 days a week
Freephone: Tel: 116 123
Email: jo@samaritans.org

Silverline 24 Hour Telephone Befriending service
Free, confidential service to share worries and fears. A good sign posting service. The Silver Line is a helpline and friendship service for people aged 55 and over.
Tel: 0800 470 8090

Utilities Emergency contact details
Power Cut Emergency Line
Tel: 105
Website: https://www.powercut105.com

National Grid Emergency
Tel: 0800 404090
Website: https://www.nationalgrid.com/group/safety-and-emergencies

Gas leaks and explosions
Tel: 0800 111999

Southern Water Emergency
Tel: 0330 3030368
https://www.southernwater.co.uk/help-advice/what-to-do-in-an-emergency

Thames Water Emergency
Tel: 0800 3169800
https://www.thameswater.co.uk/contact-us


Can I go to the dentist, my GP or another medical appointment?

In the event of a dental emergency such as severe facial swelling or uncontrollable bleeding, call your local dentist for advice/triage service/referral information. GP practices may postpone non-urgent health checks or routine appointments.  You should go to the doctor if there is an essential medical need.


How do I report about someone I am concerned about?

If it’s an emergency call 999.

We are working in partnership with the Healthy Living Centre (01322 311265) and Kent Together (0300 041 9292) to assist those in need.

For non-urgent medical enquiries call 111
Website: NHS 111


Where can I get help with my finances, including paying my rent, mortgage or bills?

If you are worried about your finances, including paying your rent, mortgage or bills:

  • Firstly, talk to your landlord, preferably before missing a payment
  • Social landlords will offer help and support to assist their tenants. If you live in a property owned by a housing association, contact them or look on their website for support
  • If you are on a low income and are not entitled to sick pay, you can make a one-off Universal Credit application for financial help
  • If you think you are going struggle to make your mortgage payments, contact your mortgage lender before you miss a payment. They can help by offering a three-month payment holiday. It won’t affect your credit rating
  • If you are struggling to pay your home bills, speak to your suppliers. Depending on your circumstances, they may be offer lower tariffs and assistance
  • If you have a key meter installed at your home and you cannot get out because you are self-isolating or unwell, contact your supplier. They may be able to add money to your meter that can be repaid at a later date

Help with your rent and living costs
If you're required to stay at home or are infected by Coronavirus and you need urgent financial support, view the benefits you can claim.
If you’re struggling to pay your home bills, speak to your energy suppliers as soon as possible. Depending on your circumstances, they may offer lower tariffs. Many of the larger energy companies will be willing to extend payments for customers affected by Coronavirus and many offer other financial assistance schemes to help you pay your bills.
For advice and help with applications and grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills, visit the Citizen's Advice website or call Citizens Advice free on 0800 144 8444.

Extra help with housing costs if you are on Benefits
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) can help with your housing costs. To qualify you must be entitled to and receiving either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (that includes a housing element).

Help with your Council Tax
You may be eligible for help with your Council Tax. To discuss your situation, including deferring the April and May instalments for two months (for residents who pay in 10 monthly instalments), call us on 01322 343700.
Please see the Money Advice Service’s information on Coronavirus – what it means for you and what you’re entitled to


Where can I get gas and electricity top ups?

New emergency measures within the energy industry have been agreed by the government to protect the domestic energy supply of those most in need during the disruption caused by COVID-19.
Customers with pre-payment meters who may not be able to add credit can speak to their supplier about options to keep them supplied.
This could include nominating a third party for credit top ups, having a discretionary fund added to their credit, or being sent a pre-loaded top up card so that their supply is not interrupted.

British Gas
Tel: 0333 202 9802
Website: www.britishgas.co.uk

EDF
Tel: 0333 200 5100
Website: www.edfenergy.com

SCOTTISH POWER
Tel: 0800 027 0072
Website: www.scottishpower.co.uk

E.on
Tel: 0345 052 0000
Website: www.eonenergy.com

NPOWER
Tel: 0800 073 3000
Website: www.npower.com

THE UTILITY WAREHOUSE
Tel: 0333 777 0777
Website: https://uw.co.uk/


How can Citizens Advice help me?

NW Kent Citizens Advice Bureau can help with specific issues relating to the current crisis:

If your employer has told you not to work
If you're self-employed
Check what benefits you can get
If you can't pay your bills
If you want a refund
Check if there are changes to your benefits
If you're worried about working
You can also contact them on 0300 330 9001 (Mon to Fri 10am – 3pm)
Website:  www.citizensadvice.org.uk


How do I claim Universal Credit?

Information on how to apply for universal credit: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Those applying for Universal Credit will now be able to use their existing Government Gateway account to confirm their identity, helping to speed up their claim.
If you have applied for, or are in receipt of Universal Credit you can get free personalised advice online from the Money Advice Service. This includes budgeting advice and guidance on managing your bills whilst you are waiting for a payment.
Tel: 0800 3285644

NGT text relay – if you cannot hear or speak on the phone: 18001 then 0800 328 5644
(Mon – Fri 8am – 6pm)


I feel like my mental health is suffering. Where can I get help?

There are several local and national mental health charities that you can contact for support:

Aspirations – Porchlight
Aspirations is a free service for anyone over 25 who is not currently in employment. We can help if you feel that your mental health is standing in your way.
Tel: 0333 880 2730
Email: aspirations@porchlight.org.uk or cleorobbins@porchlight.org.uk
Website: https://www.porchlight.org.uk/information-support/connect-with-your-community-combating-loneliness-and-isolation/aspirations/tell-us-about-your-situation

Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team  
Safe and effective community based treatment for individuals 18 and above experiencing mental ill health crisis
Tel: 01322 622023

Dartford Gravesend Swanley Community Mental Health Service
For older people and carers
Tel: 01322 421289

Kent and Medway Mental Health Services
Mental health, learning disability and substance misuse service as well as other specialist services
Tel: 0300 222 0123

KOOTH Online Mental Health Service for 10-16 year olds
A free online counselling service for young people, aged 10-16, that is safe and anonymous, using only text based chats with friendly counsellors.
Website: www.kooth.com

Mental Health Matters 24/7 Helpline
Tel: 0800 107 0160

NK Mind Wellbeing service The Almshouses 20 West Hill DARTFORD
Tel: 01322 291380
Email: admin@northkentmind.co.uk
Website: https://northkentmind.co.uk

Release the Pressure
Tel: 0800 107 0160

SANEline
Available 4.30-10.30pm
Tel: 0300 304 7000 (nationwide)

Think Action
Skills to nurture wellbeing
Tel: 0300 012 0012

Vita Minds
NHS provider offering free mental health supporting for those aged 17+.  
Anyone who would like to access their services is able to self-refer or be referred by a healthcare professional by completing their online form here: https://gateway.mayden.co.uk/referral-v2/44659577-499f-4f63-b5f6-551486b9429b
Tel: 0333 015 3495 Monday – Friday 8.00am – 8.00pm, Saturdays 8.00am – 12.30pm
Email: iapt.kentmedway@nhs.net
Website: https://www.vitahealthgroup.co.uk/nhs-services/nhs-mental-health/kentandmedway/


How can I stay healthy and sleep better?

General wellbeing tips
If you can, stick to your routine – If it’s possible try to stick to the same wake up and bedtime every day. Waking up at a set time helps stabilise your internal clock and improves your sleep.

Eat well – Tempting though it is to polish off that packet of biscuits the sugar high will just be temporary. Support your emotional health by eating a balanced diet with a variety of fruit and vegetables. If you feel well in your body, you'll feel better off in your mind and soul.

Lose the booze – Alcohol has a depressive effect and can lower your mood and prevent you from getting good quality of sleep. Both are things that could result in you feeling less emotionally prepared for the extra demands and worries many of us are facing.

Learn to relax – Establishing barriers is especially important with many of us working from home. We are living in unprecedented times and it's easy to feel as though you need to be 'switched on' all the time. You MUST make time for yourself, time to relax and do something that brings you joy. If you don't look after yourself you'll find it harder to look after others.

Keep in touch – Humans are social animals and our current situation of staying at home is necessary to save lives but that shouldn't mean we don't stay in touch with others. Set aside time to call family, friends and colleagues. You could set up a regular chat to give you and your loved ones something to look forward to and establish a routine, which can really help emotional and mental wellbeing.

Be mindful – This doesn’t need to be full meditation unless this works for you.  It could be reading, walking, painting, gardening, board games, jigsaws, colouring in, sewing, juggling, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, calling a friend or anything else that calms you. You could do a short online course to learn a new skill. You could discover a new hobby, plan a new trip you might like to take one day or reminisce and get the photos out of a past holiday. If you start overthinking during these times, recognise your thoughts and let them go.

Good sleep tips
Keep regular hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time, will programme your body to sleep better.
Create a restful sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep and it should be neither too hot, nor too cold; and as quiet and dark as possible.
Take more exercise. Regular, moderate exercise can help relieve the day's stresses and strains. But not too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake!
Cut down on stimulants such as caffeine in tea or coffee - especially in the evening. They interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.
Don't over-indulge. Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, just before bedtime, can play havoc with sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but will interrupt your sleep later on in the night.
If you can't sleep, don't lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again – then go back to bed.


I’m worried about becoming homeless, what support can I access?

Housing Assistance
If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, please contact the triage team or call 01322 343371
The Government has announced that private and social landlords will not be able to evict tenants who are financially disadvantaged due to the Coronavirus outbreak and have brought in measures to protect renters and landlords.
If you are a Dartford Council tenant and are worried about paying your rent call us on 01322 343134 or contact the rents team
More housing related information can be viewed https://www.dartford.gov.uk/by-category/housing2/housing/covid-19-information
Schools can now provide every eligible child with a weekly shopping voucher worth £15 to spend at supermarkets while schools are closed due to coronavirus.
Find out more by visiting the national government website


Which other organisations are providing help locally?

You will find a list of other local help and national support at useful-contacts


I live in Dartford, how do I contact my local Councillor?

You can contact your local Councillor.
Alternatively you can call us on 01322 343434.
For more information visit the government website.

Last Updated: 05th November 2020