Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Community support

We are keen to support our communities and provide you with useful guidance and information.

Essex Coronavirus Action group

Ther are now Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages that carry out the three main objectives during the COVID-19 outbreak

  • prevent
  • inform
  • assist

You can find advice on these pages to:

  • help prevent coming into contact with coronavirus and passing it on to other people, including those who are vulnerable
  • let you know about hoaxes, myths and fake news circulating on social media about Coronavirus
  • find local Facebook groups who make sure the most vulnerable members of your local community and their carers get the help they need both practically and emotionally. This may include information sharing, signposting to other services, shopping, being a phone buddy, and so on.

The Essex Coronavirus Action group is a collaboration between:

  • Essex County Council
  • The Essex Public Health Team
  • Local Facebook group owners

Essex Wellbeing Service

Essex County Council set up the Essex Wellbeing Service as a single point of contact for anyone needing urgent help during the coronavirus outbreak.

You can also speak to the Essex Wellbeing Service about anyone you are concerned about.

The Essex Wellbeing Service, uses community interest company Provide to help link all Essex residents to the support they need. This includes pratical, emotional and social care support they need to adapt to the 'new normal' as lockdown measure ease.

In addition to arranging help with everyday tasks, Essex Wellbeing Service becomes a single point of access for services including Live Well, Link Well. that supports people who are feeling isolated.

Live Well, Link Well provides support to people who are feeling isolated. It also connects people to advice and specialist support around:

  • children and family issues
  • mental wellbeing
  • dementia care
  • sensory impairment
  • learning disability
  • carers support

Shielding

The Government changed the advice on shielding on 1 August 2020.

If you were shielding, you should now follow strict social distancing rules. You can find the latest government guidance on shielding on GOV.UK.

The National Shielding Services such as food box deliveries and medicine deliveries have now stopped.

If you do not have the support of friends, family or neighbours and are worried about how you will cope, you can contact the Essex Wellbeing Service:

The Essex Wellbeing Service is open:

  • Monday to Friday between 8am and 7pm
  • Saturday between 10am and 5pm
  • Sundays and Bank Holidays between 10am and 2pm

NHS Volunteer Responders

If you are currently not supported NHS Volunteer Responders can help with shopping, a prescription collection or a friendly chat.

The programme is open to anyone who needs to self-isolate for any reason.

You can find out more about NHS Volunteer Responders on their website. 

If you, or someone you know, would like to register for support from the volunteers please call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).

Community support and volunteering

Community360, are an independent charity who lead on local community action to improve quality of life. They have put together a dedicated webpage of useful Braintree District services and contacts to support you over the coming months, including:

  • pharmacies
  • doctor surgeries
  • accessing hospitals
  • befriending services
  • home to home calls
  • travelling

If you or someone you know needs any support, you can contact Community360

  • by email on engagement7@community360.org.uk
  • by phone on 01376 550507

Funding for Community Covid Support

If you are a group or organisation that is supporting shielding residents or those deemed clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) and you require some funding, we can help.

You should email your proposal by 19 February 2021 to tracey.parry@braintree.gov.uk.

Your proposal should include:

  • amount of funding required (typically up to £2,000 but larger grants may be available)
  • who and approximately how many people it will benefit
  • how you will use the funding. Eligible costs could include but are not limited to: covering the overheads of setting up and managing the local system, contacting CEV individuals within the relevant area, assessing the food and basic support needs of CEV individuals where required, volunteer expenses, PPE)
  • key contact at the organisation, including their position

We need organisations who are granted funding to provide monitoring. This monitoring would include:

  • the numbers contacted
  • numbers benefitted
  • how people have benefitted
  • amount of funding spent

Organisations will need to spend any funds by the end of March 2021. Organisations will need to return any unspent funds. We cannot give funding for previous work.

Organisations will have to sign a funding agreement before we release any funds.

Mental health

Since March, coronavirus restrictions have meant families, individuals, and groups in shared households have been living in isolation from their friends and families.

The second lockdown from November 2 will mean people will only be able to meet one adult in a public outdoor space and people having to stay home where possible once again.

Along with many feeling isolated, others have lost loved ones or not been able to say goodbye to those who have died during the pandemic.

Schools and businesses have had restricted openings and for many people working patterns have changed.

People are under more pressure as they need to juggle things like

  • home working
  • home schooling
  • caring for children
  • financial uncertainty
  • job losses
  • working in restricted conditions or
  • being on the front line in supporting the fight against the virus

You can visit the Livewell website to find information, resources and contact details for support services for mental health, anxiety and bereavement that are available in Essex.

Keeping Active

It is important to keep active to stay healthy and reduce frailty, while some community groups are not able to run as usual, there are resources available to exercise at home.

Active Essex launched Keep Essex Active this year, streaming a variety of online exercise classes that you can watch online in your own time. The classes are for a variety of different abilities, so you're sure to find something that works for you. There are also sessions for meditation and mindfulness.

Fusion Leisure has also launched Fusion At Home, with a range of exercise classes to take part in for all ages and abilities. 

The NHS has information on seated exercises that you can do in your own home.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of age, background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. It can take many different forms such as:

  • Physical abuse (not just hitting, they may restrain you or throw objects at you)
  • Psychological abuse such as name-calling, threats, manipulation and gas-lighting you into believing you're too blame or imaginging it
  • Economic and financial abuse such as controlling your access to money, spending your money and getting you into debt
  • Coercive control where they use a pattern of behaviour over time to exert power and control
  • Sexual abuse (as well as physical this can mean getting you to do things you don't want to do)
  • Tech abuse such as sending abusive texts, demanding access to your devices, tracking your devices and sharing images of you online without your permission

If you are expericing domestic abuse, you do not have to stay with your abuser during lockdown. There are support services available to help you to help you escape and find a safe place to live. Find a full list of domestic abuse support services on the Livewell website.

Compass

Essex Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0330 333 7444

Helpline available from 8 am to 8 pm weekdays and 8 am to 1 pm weekends. Messages will be responded to within 24hrs.

For more information visit Essex compass website.

J9

There are J9 venues across the Braintree district, if you see the J9 logo displayed, this is a safe space to ask about information or support for domestic abuse.

Financial Advice

Council Support

For information on benefits and support grants, visit our Benefits page.

If you are facing homelessness, visit our Housing page.

Essential Living Fund

If you find yourself in need of some help this winter, the Essential Living Fund can help pay for heating, electricity, water and food. It can you get essential household items like a fridge, cooker or table. Visit www.southend.gov.uk/elfforessex or if you are vulnerable or have no access to the internet you can call 0300 7900124 (between 8:45am - 5:00pm).

The Hardship Fund

The British Red Cross Hardship Fund supports people with no access to stable income sources, people who lack recognised legal status, people with no or in temporary accommodation, families living below the poverty line and those facing domestic or sexual and gender-based violence. Up to £120 per month is available for up to 3 months. Call their Coronavirus support line on 0808 196 3651

Food Banks

If you are struggling to afford food, Braintree Area Foodbank are here to help, to find out more about food bank vouchers visit the Braintree Area Foodbank website.

Witham Community Hub are based in Newlands Shopping Centre are able to provide food parcels to individuals and families in Witham and surrounding areas if you are shielding, vulnerable or financially struggling due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This can be delivered or collected. The hub also has a community fridge which can be accessed without referral and is open to the public Monday to Saturday between 12 noon and 2pm.

First Stop collect food donations from various supermarkets and make up food parcels which can be collected or delivered. You can turn up at their premises without appointment at 29 Bocking End, Braintree between 10.30am and 12 noon or call 01376 346535.

Advice and Support

If you need financial advice or want information on your employment rights, call Braintree, Halstead & Witham Citizens advice on 0344 499 4719. Their advice line is open Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm.

If you have lost your job as a result of Coronavirus (Covid-19), visit the Government website to find guidance and advice.

The Money Advice Service website has a Coronavirus Support page for money advice related to the pandemic.

Keep up to date

Get the latest information as soon as it changes by:

We are keeping these channels up to date with the latest news and information.

Customer Services

Address: Causeway House,
Bocking End,
Braintree,
Essex,
CM7 9HB

Telephone: 01376 552525