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Coronavirus advice for vulnerable residents

The council is working to support vulnerable residents and tenants throughout the pandemic, and is also working with partners to proactively support rough sleepers

We have now moved into national lockdown. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work. Read the full guidance for those who are shielding on the Government website.

Find out more about help and advice available below. You can also find a map of local and community-led organisations that are able to provide support services during this time.

More on coronavirus: Westminster Connects, residentsbusinesses, updates. You can also sign up to our email newsletter for daily updates.

1. Ask for help

In the first instance if you need help or you know of anyone who needs help as a result of COVID-19 phone us on 020 7641 1222 (9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday) or email westminsterconnects@westminster.gov.uk.

If you are concerned about an adult who you think requires social care and support, or you have a safeguarding concern, please phone 020 7641 1444 or 020 7641 1175 or email adultsocialcare@westminster.gov.uk

If you are concerned about a child and you have a safeguarding concern, please phone 0207 641 4000 or email AccesstoChildrensServices@westminster.gov.uk

The council has launched an automated text and call service to check in on vulnerable residents. All those who were formerly shielding will receive monthly calls to check whether they need any additional support. If they select yes, an officer will call them back to discuss their needs in person. 

If you would prefer not to take an automated call, you can always call Westminster Connects directly on 020 7641 1222 (9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday).

Find a map of local and community-led organisations that are able to provide support services during this time.

2. Food support

Westminster Connects works with a network of food banks, community organisations and and charities to provide food to any residents in Westminster who are facing hardship. If you’re in need of food, you can contact the Westminster Connects team for a referral or get in touch with one of the services below.

Westminster Chapel Food Bank

Westminster Chapel, Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6BS

Offer: a food parcel containing up to 3 days of food provision.

Who can access this offer: residents living in South Westminster.

To get a referral, contact one of the organisations below:

Distribution method: collection only service.

North Paddington Food Bank

Selbourne House, Ground Fl, 36A Elgin Ave, London W9 3AZ

Offer: a food parcel containing 5-7 days of food provision.

Who can access this offer: residents in North Westminster. Get a referral by contacting Westminster Connects on 020 7641 1222.

Distributing by delivery and appointment Tuesday to Friday every week.

Distribution Method: delivery and collections.

Age UK Westminster

Beethoven Centre, Third Avenue, London W10 4JL

Offer: Age UK run a shopping service for those who are unable to visit shops or order delivery online.

Who can access this offer: Westminster residents aged 65+ and vulnerable older people. Contact Age UK directly on 020 3004 5610 Email: enquiries@ageukwestminster.org.uk (10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday)

Cardinal Hume Centre

3-7 Arneway Street, Off Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2BG

Offer: e-vouchers that can be used to purchase food and gifts.

Who can access this offer: families across Westminster who are registered at the centre and young people living in their hostel. To register please visit the centre Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 2pm.

Additional Support

Westminster Connects

You can contact the Westminster Connects team for a referral to one of the organisations above or to talk about other support.

Contact: telephone 020 7641 1222 or email: westminsterconnects@westminster.gov.uk, Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.

Westminster Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

The Westminster CAB provide information, advice and support covering areas such as welfare benefits, housing and financial hardship.

Contact:  telephone 0808 278 7834 (freephone), website www.westminstercab.org.uk

3. Food delivery

Those who have been identified as extremely vulnerable are advised not to go to the shops. Use online shopping if you can, or ask others, such as friends, family or volunteers, to deliver shopping for you.

Supermarket deliveries

Many supermarkets have priority delivery slots for people who are vulnerable. If you already have a priority delivery slot with a supermarket that will continue, you do not need to do anything further.

If you would like to request access to a priority supermarket delivery slot, you should register with the government’s new online service for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable. You’ll be asked for your NHS number, which you should be able to find on your letter from the Department of Health and Social Care.

If you need help accessing food or food delivery, please call the Westminster Connects team on 020 7641 1222 (9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday).

Age UK Westminster

Age UK offer a shopping service for those who are unable to use online shopping. They can also arrange food parcels and prepared meal deliveries. Find out more at Age UK.

NHS Volunteer Responders 

NHS Volunteer Responders can help with shopping and medicines delivery, as well as regular phone calls or transport to and from medical appointments. 

Call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm to arrange support or visit NHS Volunteer Responders.

Urgent food

If you have an urgent food requirement we can assist you in contacting North Paddington Food Bank or Westminster Food Bank.

4. Mental health support

We know that for many people the current Coronavirus situation may result in feelings of anxiety, loneliness or depression.

It may be difficult, but by following the government’s COVID-19 guidance, you are helping to protect yourself, your family, the NHS and your community.

It’s completely normal to perhaps feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You might also feel low, worried, anxious, or concerned about your health or that of those close to you. It’s important that you take care of your mind as well as your body and to get further support if you need it.

To help, GOV.UK guidance on mental health and wellbeing during coronavirus (COVID-19) is available. This provides advice on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing at this time, including how to connect with and support others, manage your feelings and daily routine and where to find support.

If you need support with your mental health and wellbeing or someone to talk to, please call your GP or contact:​

  • Every Mind Matters: now more than ever, Every Mind Matters. Visit NHS Every Mind Matters to get your free online personal Mind Plan including simple tips and advice for you to look after your mental wellbeing during coronavirus
  • Good Thinking has NHS-approved mental health tools and advice to support you if you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or struggling with other mental health concerns.
  • Reach Out  offer talking therapies to adults who are experiencing anxiety or depression. The service is available to Westminster residents and people who are registered with a GP in the area
  • The Westminster Talking Therapies Service (IAPT) provides free, confidential talking therapies for people who may have concerns around coronavirus. The support is offered by qualified therapists and counsellors, and most consultations are provided by phone or video call
  • The NHS Single Point of Access Line - 0800 0234 650 – is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be called if you are in a crisis
  • You can call NHS 111 if you or someone you know needs urgent care, but it's not life threatening
  • The Samaritans – call 0330 094 5717 or freephone 116 123 – open 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • The Listening Place – call 020 3906 7676 – open from 9am to 9pm, seven days a week 

Call 999 if you or someone you know experiences a life-threatening medical or mental health emergency.

Online sources to help maintain mental well-being

5. Staying healthy

Visit our health and wellbeing section for advice on:

  • social distancing
  • stopping the spread of coronavirus
  • what to do if you or someone in your household has symptoms
  • people at high risk
  • looking after your health

6. Care homes

​Protecting everyone in Westminster is our utmost priority, particularly the most vulnerable. We are working closely with our social care teams to offer advice and support and ensuring care home staff and residents have access to testing. Contact care homes directly for local policies, such as visiting arrangements or contact your social care provider for further information.

Find government guidance for adult social care

How the council is supporting care homes

Westminster City Council is committed to working in partnership with the borough’s care homes who have a vital role to play in protecting vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic. This letter and implementation plan sets out at high level the support arrangements that are currently in place locally to support care homes to protect their staff and residents.

Care home infection control plan (PDF, 315KB)

Care home support – implementation status (PDF, 180KB)

Social care provider support - annex B in the letter from the Minister of Start for Care, 14 May 2020 (PDF, 85KB)

7. Befriending services

These schemes allow you to stay in touch over the phone, either through regular one-to-one chats or as part of conversation groups. Some offer a range of other wellbeing services.


One Westminster offer a range of befriending services, including for older people, those with learning disabilities and a general ‘check in and chat’ service open to all. Email: wellbeingchat@onewestminster.org.uk or call 07484 542229

The Abbey Centre offer a friendly voice to isolated people in South Westminster, and provide helpful information including links to food distribution and prescription runs. They work with people of all ages, and specialise in English, Arabic, Bengali and Spanish languages. They also offer a range of other wellbeing support, including online exercise, yoga, nutrition advice and a book club.

The Help Hub is an online therapy service offering free 20-minute sessions aimed at people who are self-isolating or struggling, with therapists across the UK

Older people

Age UK Westminster offer telephone befriending 2-3 times a week for older people as well as a range of other support services, including help with shopping or food delivery

The Silver Line run a free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people 24 hours a day, every day of the year. They can connect you to someone to have a weekly chat or to a group of people with shared interests.

Octavia Foundation offer one to one and group befriending for anyone over 50 living in Westminster

Neighbourcare is a befriending organisation for older people living in NW8, W9, and nearby areas in Westminster. They have several Spanish speakers amongst their team of volunteers.

In-Deep offer a befriending and home visiting scheme for older people living in South Westminster, and a range of other social activities.

Independent Age Telephone Befriending service for older people regularly connects you over the phone with someone who cares

Other groups

Mind provide information and signposting to anyone experiencing mental health problems.

DeafBlind UK offer a befriending service for people with combined sight and hearing loss.

The Passage match former rough sleepers who may be socially isolated with volunteers from all over London. 

Opening Doors London runs a befriending project for older LGBT men and women who may be more isolated and cut off from society in general and specifically from the LGBT community.


Westminster Befriend a Family provide practical and emotional support to parents with children aged five and up and young people aged 10 - 25

Family Lives offers a confidential and free helpline for families in England and Wales.

8. Taxicard scheme

Taxicard is a scheme that helps London residents with serious mobility or sight impairments to get around. During the COVID-19 crisis, London Councils are varying the rules of the scheme, to allow members to use the subsidy to help them while staying at home. The changes will allow drivers to pick up and deliver essential supplies for members, or allow friends and family to travel on their behalf.

More information on getting or using a Taxicard are available on the London Councils website

9. Advice in other languages

Coronavirus guides are available in other languages on GOV.UK. This covers government advice on shielding, staying at home, and for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person.

Last updated: 5 January 2021