The following is hopefully helpful information given the new restrictions introduced from 5 January and also a summary and update of previous key numbers and sources of guidance and support. This includes:
* Summary of the New Restrictions
*Support available for individuals including food/prescription support and financial support
* Support for mental health and wellbeing
* Support if you are concerned about a vulnerable adult or child
* Support for business
Regular updates are published on the Council’s website at: www.highland.gov.uk/coronavirus
Summary of New Restrictions – Stay At Home
There is now a legal requirement not to leave home except for an essential purpose. Wherever possible, people are being advised to stay as close to home as possible, to shop online or local and to travel as little as possible in order to exercise in a non-crowded place. Essential purposes include the following reasons – a full list can be accessed at the following link: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/
Essential reasons for leaving home:
** for work or an activity associated with seeking employment, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home.
** for education including, school, college, university or other essential purposes connected with a course of study.
for essential shopping, including essential shopping for a vulnerable person. You should use online shopping or shops and other services in your immediate area wherever you can.
** to obtain or deposit money, where it is not possible to do so from home.
** for healthcare, including COVID-19 testing and vaccination.
** for childcare or support services for parents or expectant parents.
** to provide care, assistance, support to or respite for a vulnerable person
** to participate in or facilitate shared parenting.
** to visit a person in an extended household.
** for essential animal welfare reasons, such as exercising or feeding a horse or going to a vet.
** local outdoor recreation, sport or exercise, walking, cycling, golf, or running that starts and finishes at the same place (which can be up to 5 miles from the boundary of your local authority area) as long as you abide by the rules on meeting other households
** to attend a marriage ceremony or registration of a civil partnership.
** to attend a funeral or for compassionate reasons which relate to the end of a person’s life. This includes gatherings related to the scattering or interring of ashes, a stone setting ceremony and other similar commemorative events.
Meeting with others
** Can only take place outdoors and a maximum of 2 people from 2 separate households can meet for outdoors sport or exercise. Children under 12 don’t count towards these numbers.
Hospitality and tourism
** All restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars are closed except for take-away purposes
** All holiday accommodation is closed except for essential customers e.g. key workers
** Tradespeople can only go into someone’s home to carry out essential work or services e.g. repairs, utility/safety checks Community centres can continue to operate for the delivery of essential services only, such as emergency shelter, medical services or meals for the homeless. Places of worship must close but can open to broadcast online or conduct a marriage or funeral ceremony
** Sports – all indoor facilities are closed. Outdoor non-contact e.g. golf/tennis can continue based on a single household group or no more than 2 adults from 2 households.
Schools ; From 5 to 29 January, all schools will remain open but the only pupils who will be in school will be those identified as vulnerable by schools and the children of Key Workers. Online learning will be in place for all pupils including those children and young people in school. A letter has been sent to all parents and carers advising of key worker criteria and that attendance in school should only be if no other options are available.
** There is not a full return to the shielding measures in place earlier in the year. However, new guidance includes:
o People who were shielding are now being asked to work from home and if they cannot work from home, then they should not go to work. Everyone who had been on the shielding list will be sent a letter by the Chief Medical Officer and this can act as a ‘fit’ note for work while the additional restrictions are in place.
o Everyone who was on the shielding list and signed up for text notifications has already been sent a message advising them of this. Letters should arrive in the next few days
** Guidance provided to people previously shielding in December remains and this includes:
o People should minimise contact with people from outwith their household
o People should not take public transport
o People who were shielding can still sign up for priority supermarket deliveries by calling the helpline number 0300 303 1362 or by texting their CHI number to 0786 006 4525.
o If people are attending shops, advice is to do this at quieter times
o Children who were shielding have already been advised not to go to school/college under tier 4 measures.
Support for Individuals
The Council, working with its third sector and community group partners, continues to provide help to those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Council’s Coronavirus Helpline can provide advice and support to individuals and businesses at this time.
Coronavirus Helpline: 0300 303 1362 (operates Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm and is FREE to call)
Food and Prescription Support
Food support can be provided for those in crisis who require emergency access to food. This includes people who have to self-isolate because they have tested positive for covid or are a close contact of someone who has.
Prescriptions can be collected for people who have no way to collect or get their prescription delivered.
Support can be accessed by phoning: 0300 303 1362
The Council’s Welfare Support Team can provide advice, guidance and support to people who are struggling financially.
The Team will identify all the benefits that are available for an individual’s circumstances and will complete applications on someone’s behalf. For example, if someone is self-isolating and on a low income, it may be possible to help with heating, travel and other costs. The Welfare Team will also claim on an individual’s behalf any benefits they may be entitled to, including reductions that may be available on Council Tax.
This service is free and confidential.
FREEPHONE on 0800 090 1004 (9am – 5pm); or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information is also available on the Council’s website: www.highland.gov.uk/directory_record/102970/benefit_advice
Self-Isolation Support Grant
If someone on a low income has been asked by NHS Test and Protect Service to self-isolate, either because they have tested positive for Covid-19 or they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, they may be entitled to the £500 self-isolation support grant.
To apply contact the Welfare Support Team: FREEPHONE on 0800 090 1004 (9am – 5pm); or Email: email@example.com
Further information is available at:
Support for Mental Health and Wellbeing
The impact of the measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19 has placed increased pressure and uncertainty on everyone so it’s important to know where to find help and support for our mental health and wellbeing when it is needed. There are services where you can find confidential and trusted support, these include:
Help in a crisis:
The following advice is intended for crisis situations which happen only rarely. A mental health crisis is when someone feels their mental health is at breaking point and they need urgent help and support.
If you are concerned that you are, or if you feel that someone else is, in immediate danger call 999. If you are calling for someone else, try to establish the person’s name, contact details and location.
If the crisis is not life-threatening but you are concerned for your own or somebody else’s mental health, advise them to call NHS 24 on 111 or speak to their GP. The route into formal mental health services is through a GP surgery.
If someone discloses to you that they are already in receipt of support for their own mental health they should be directed to link in with that pre-existing support.
Support, advice and resources can also be found at:
**Samaritans – 116 123 (calls are free and do not show on a phone bill)
** Breathing Space – 0800 83 85 87
** Mikey’s Line – 07786 207755
** Ewen’s Room – 0800 689 3317
** National Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 027 1234 LGBT Helpline Scotland 0300 123 2523
** Childline – 0800 1111
** CRUSE Bereavement Care Scotland – 0845 600 2227 Non-crisis situations: In most instances where mental health concerns are raised it will not be a crisis. If you have, or someone you are in contact with has, concerns about mental ill health, a GP should be the first point of contact. It is understandable in the current crisis that many people will feel anxious, worried or stressed. For those who are in need of emotional/wellbeing support or who are affected by isolation due to the current COVID-19 circumstance, you might want to look for local voluntary organisations who can offer a regular welfare call or suggest contact with a befriending service
While we can’t control many of the challenges around us, there are still things we can do to protect our mental health and wellbeing. If you are online, check out any of the resources below:
Clear Your Head
Great tips from the Scottish Government and partners to help get you through these difficult times.
Highland Mental Wellbeing
A collection of resources gathered by NHS Highland to support mental wellbeing
Highland Digital School Hub: Wellbeing for all
Resources to use at home to help with going back to school, and resources for school staff to support themselves
SAMH Information Service you can talk to their Information team about mental health on 0344 800 0550, and there is a range of information on support, including:
If you urgently need help
SAMH have a list of organisations who can help if you need to speak to someone.
Protect your wellbeing in winter : Some of us can struggle with our mental health and wellbeing during the colder months.
Concerned about Someone who is Vulnerable?
Should you be concerned about a vulnerable adult, whether for care, welfare or mental health reasons, you can contact the following numbers:
** Adult Protection Concern helpline – 0800 902 0042 in office hours and out of office hours or during holiday periods – 0845 769 7284.
Should you be concerned about a child, their welfare, wellbeing or their safety, then please use the following contacts:
** Child protection – phone the Police on 999 if a child is at immediate risk of harm.
** If you feel that a child or young person may be at risk of harm at any time either physically or emotionally, visit the Child Protection Committee website www.hcpc.scot for advice, guidance and sources of support. Child protection is everyone’s responsibility and now, more than ever we rely on local communities to help us make sure families get the right support at the right time.
** General advice or concerns, local numbers for each area can be found at http://hcpc.scot/professionals for local contact numbers or the Emergency out of hours service can be contacted on 08457 697284
Support for Business
A national Helpline is in place from the Scottish Government for employees and employers regarding the Coronavirus outbreak
Telephone: 0300 303 0660
Further information is available on the Government website:
Information for individuals and businesses in Scotland
Further information on support for business including any current grant support available can be found on the Council’s website at:
THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN POSTED HERE BY NETHER LOCHABER COMMUNITY RESILIENCE GROUP AND WILL BE UPDATED WITH ANY CHANGES WE RECEIVE FROM HIGHLAND COUNCIL.
You can contact the Resilience Group regarding any enquiries, difficulties or suggestions …
by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
by messaging Nether Lochaber Community Council at their Facebook page by calling 01855 604246 Nether Lochaber Covid-19 Support Line