Coronavirus advice for vulnerable residents

More on coronavirus: how you can helpresidents, businesses, more information.

The council is making contact with vulnerable residents and tenants and is also working with partners to proactively support rough sleepers.

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

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1. Staying healthy

The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

Stay at home to stop Coronavirus spreading

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary
If you have to go outside to do essential tasks or exercise, stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people.

What to do if you have Coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

Please visit the NHS advice on self-isolation if you or someone you live with has symptoms.

Advice for people at high risk

Coronavirus can make anyone seriously ill, but there are some people who are at a higher risk.

If you are at high risk, you will be contacted by the NHS by Sunday 29 March 2020. Do not contact your GP or healthcare team at this stage – wait to be contacted.

Please visit the NHS advice for people at high risk for more information and advice on extra things you can do to avoid catching coronavirus.

Other things you can do to stop the spread of Coronavirus

  • wash your hands with soap and hot water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people, if you need to go outside
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Looking after your health and wellbeing

To help yourself stay well while you're at home:

  • stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media
  • try to keep yourself busy – you could try activities like cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
  • do light exercise at home, or outside once a day

For more advice, see:

Stay up to date on the latest health advice by visiting NHS Coronavirus.

2. 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. Contact care homes directly for local policies, such as visiting arrangements or contact your social care provider for further information.

    ​Find guidance for residential care, supported living and home care at Public Health England.

    4. 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, please send us the details or phone us on: 020 7641 1222.

    • If you need help or you know of anyone who needs help, please send us the details.

    Ask for help

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

    5. 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 guidance on social distancing and staying at home, 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 now 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:

    • 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 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:

    6. Befriending services

    If you are an older person, these schemes allow you to stay in touch over the phone, either through regular one-to-one chats or as part of conversation groups.

    • Independent Age Telephone Befriending service for older people regularly connects you over the phone with someone who cares
    • The Silver Line Telephone Friend service for older people connects you with someone to have a weekly chat to in the comfort of your own home
    • The Silver Line Circles connects you to a group where people with shared interests can discuss topics that interest them
      Both services can be accessed on: 0800 4 70 80 90
    • 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

    7. Food delivery services

    • Most supermarkets and grocery stores are experiencing problems with customers over-buying. Many are now prioritising delivery services to older and vulnerable people, people with disabilities and carers. They are also offering a ‘first hour’ for these priority groups after opening. Please check with your local supermarket for exact times of opening and delivery.
    • London Dairies offers free next day home deliveries within London postcodes supplying your basic dairy needs and now offers this with their small fruit & veg box offer. Call 020 8440 0619 or email 

    8. Ways to stay connected, active and engaged

    Keep in touch with friends and family

    Just because you can’t go out, doesn’t mean you can’t socialise with family and friends. There are lots of apps that help you keep in touch with people, including WhatsApp from your phone, FaceTime from your iPhone or iPad, and Skype, Zoom, Houseparty and Google Hangouts which work on all devices.  


    Digital or Home Library Service

    If you have a tablet, phone, eBook reader or computer, you do not need to go out to your local library to borrow a new book or magazine to read.

    • If you are a member of Westminster or Royal Borough of Kensington and libraries, you can borrow and download eBooks, eMagazines, eNewspapers, eAudiobooks and eComics for free onto a dedicated app on your device. Learn more here.
    • If you want a physical book to read, you can contact the Home Library Service. Find out more here.


    Online Zoos

    Whilst you cannot visit any Zoos in person, you can now bring the Zoo to your screen. A number of zoos around the world are broadcasting live footage from their animal enclosures. Here’s a few:

    • Edinburgh Zoo (UK) - Panda, Koala, Penguin & Tiger Cams HERE
    • Marwell Zoo (UK) - Flamingo, Penguin, Giraffe & Lemur Cams HERE
    • Dublin Zoo (Ireland) - Elephants, Penguins, Giraffes, Rhinos, Ostrich & Zebras Cams HERE
    • San Diego Zoo (USA) - Panda, Penguin, Baboon, Polar Bear, Ape, Koala, Giraffe, Burrowing Owl, Condor, Elephant & Tiger Cam HERE
    • Houston Zoo (USA) - Giraffe, Gorilla, Chimp, Elephant, Leafcutter Ant & Rhino Cams HERE
    • Living Coast Wild Planet Trust (UK) - Penguin Cam HERE


    Art, Music, Drama events online

    • The Philharmonic Berlin invite you to visit their virtual concert hall free of charge. You can listen to over 600 orchestral concerts from the Berliner Philharmoniker in the Digital Concert Hall.
    • The Met Opera in New York have decided to stream several operas (e.g Carmen, La Bohème, Eugene Onegin) for free. Each opera will start at 19:30 local time (23:30 GMT) but will be remain available for 20 hours (19:30 GMT) after the stream has ended and can be accessed via their homepage.
    • The Wind in the Willows the Musical is being made available to stream online for free as theatres are forced to close their doors. The film was recorded live at the London Palladium in 2017.
    • The March Network brings together a variety of home-based, creative ways to support mental health during these unique and uncertain times. They include links to arts and crafts, music and other activities online.


    Language Learning Apps

    Self-isolation may be a good time to learn a new skill or keep up with an already existing one. Learning languages can both enrich your mind and allow you to connect with others around the world.

    There are a range of apps available on your mobile app store and many are also available for use on desktops and other devices. Go to your app store and type ‘languages’ in the search bar.


    Exercise Apps

    Staying active is vital to everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing.

    If you are unable to get outside for one form of exercise each day, there are loads of great ways you can get and stay active at home or out in your garden (if you have one). There are some great ideas helping everyone stay active on:


    Looking for ways to get healthier?

    Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health, and the health of your family at any time.

    If you’re a smoker looking for ways to stay healthy while staying at home, why not make an attempt to quit smoking? How you choose to stop smoking is up to you – One You Westminster is here to help you kick the habit for good either online or over the phone.

    Last updated: 30 March 2020