Coronavirus - community support

What help is on offer?

Many people are being supported by family, friends, carers or neighbours during the pandemic.

For those who do not have anyone to help, community hubs have been set up to ensure that no one is left without support. Contact details for the hubs are further down this page.

There is a lot of information and support available if you need extra help in coping with the effects of coronavirus. This page tells you about the different options available to you.

If you are registered as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus and have received a letter from the national government, read our advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people.

COVID Winter Grant Scheme

The scheme was announced by the government in November 2020. Funding is being provided to Councils to support those most in need with the cost of food, energy and water bills and other associated costs.

In East Sussex the funding is being used for schools, colleges and early years settings to provide food vouchers for children and young people eligible for free school meals.

Funding has also been given to a range of local community organisations and charities to provide immediate support to households in need that they are working with.

Finding support for specific issues

Support is available if you need to:

If you need advice on a health issue and aren’t sure what to do, you can use the NHS 111 online service or call 111. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones. You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation.

You can find out more about local information, advice and extra support, including phone numbers, in our leaflet ‘Coronavirus: no on left to cope on their own’, at the bottom of this page.

Getting help from NHS volunteers

You can get help directly from the NHS Volunteer Responders. This service is available for people who have ever been advised to shield, are vulnerable to coronavirus, have caring responsibilities or are self-isolating.

NHS volunteers can help with shopping for food and essentials, collecting prescriptions, or just provide a friendly chat.

If you, or someone you know, would like to register for support from the NHS volunteers please call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week). Visit the website for more information: NHS Volunteer Responders.

Getting help from a community hub

Community Hubs are here to help people affected by the pandemic who have no one else to turn to.

The trained staff in the hubs will listen to your needs and put you in touch with the group or person best placed to help locally. They can help you with things like:

  • supporting you with options to help you get food and essentials
  • organising a volunteer to help you with shopping for food or essentials, or collecting your prescriptions
  • putting you in touch with a local organisation or group who can help you cope with the impact of coronavirus
  • referring you to local befriending services if you are lonely or isolated and would like someone to talk to.

Contact details for the hubs are further down this page.

Community Hubs are a partnership between the voluntary sector, health service, County Council and District and Borough Councils in East Sussex.

Who can use a community hub?

Anyone who feels they need extra support to cope during the pandemic and has no other way to get help can use a hub. If you’re not sure where to start, the hubs can help signpost you to local options.

People who can arrange online deliveries or get help from family, friends and neighbours should do so.

You might need help because you:

  • are isolating with symptoms of, or have been confirmed as having, COVID-19
  • have been told to isolate as a result of Test and Trace
  • have been abroad and are required to quarantine for a period of time
  • are due to undergo an operation and need to isolate prior to the procedure

Get help or advice with your finances

Are you facing financial difficulty?

You can get a free financial health check if you are worried about money and debt.

This is open to everyone in East Sussex – you don’t need to be receiving benefits or be unemployed.

Call 0333 344 0681 or email benefitseastsussex@harcuk.com.

03 calls cost no more than national rate calls to 01 or 02 numbers and count towards inclusive minutes on mobile and landline packages.

This service is being provided via the Sussex Community Development Association (SCDA), mainly through Citizens Advice (CAB) and Hastings Advice and Representation Centre (HARC).

Transport support for vaccinations

During the current restrictions, family and friends of elderly patients are permitted to take them to their COVID-19 vaccine appointment under the exemption of ‘providing care for the vulnerable’.

If this is not possible then you may be able to access community transport.

Free transport option

East Sussex residents who have no means to get to their COVID-19 vaccination appointment can book a free return journey to help them attend.

To book free travel please book your vaccination appointment first and then call 07871 603 235 to speak to a travel coordinator. The booking service is available Monday to Friday, from 10am to 1pm, and from 2pm to 5pm.

The travel coordinator will ask you the following questions:

  • Do you have access to transport to attend your vaccine appointment?
  • Do you have a family member, friend or carer who can help with transport? They do not have to be in your bubble – for details see government travel guidance.

If both of these options are not available the travel coordinator will arrange transport for you, including any additional needs such as wheelchair-friendly vehicles.

All transport providers have signed up to a COVID-19 safety policy to ensure that all precautions are in place for a safe journey.

Contact your local community hub

There are five hubs – one in each part of the county. They are usually open during working hours, 9am to 5pm, although this will vary slightly from hub to hub. Each one can be reached online or by phone.

Eastbourne

Website: Lewes and Eastbourne Councils
Phone: 01323 679722

Hastings

Website: Hastings Borough Council
Phone: 01424 451019

Lewes

Website: Lewes and Eastbourne Councils
Phone: 01273 099956

Rother

Website: Rother District Council
Phone: 01424 787000 (option 4)

Wealden

Website: Wealden District Council
Phone: 01323 443322

Communication support and BSL for D/deaf people

DeafCOG can support D/deaf people with BSL or other communication. Their volunteers can help if you don’t have people local to you that can sign, or if you are feeling lonely or worried.

Website: DeafCOG COVID19 support

Text: 07703 378 098

Email: info@deafcog.co.uk

Support for ethnic minority people in East Sussex

People from ethnic minority background who are affected by Covid-19 and would like to access bilingual or outreach support can receive help from Diversity Resource International. Their outreach workers and bilingual advocates will contact those in need, and provide over-the-phone or video support whilst signposting them to further organisations, if required. For further information or support, please contact them:

Email: community@driorg.com
Telephone: 07775 332 866

Extra support information leaflet

For information on who to contact if you need extra support and other useful information, please download our leaflet:

Please email Policy and Strategy Admin to request this leaflet in a different format or language.