Covid-19

Coronavirus Support Hub

Useful information

Information relating to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is constantly being updated. Below you will find links to official sources of information relating to issues that may be affecting you. This page will be updated with the most recent and relevant information as it is published. Please remain vigilant to scams and false information being published on the internet and only accept assistance from official sources.

Health and wellbeing

Information about Covid-19, what to do if you are experiencing symptoms, information on whether you should self-isolate, guidance on social-distancing and how to access medical support is regularly updated on the NHS official page. It is important to take care of yours and others overall health and wellbeing at this time, below you will find information on what to do if you are experiencing abuse or need to seek help with mental health at this time.

Find official advice and health related information and regular updates on Coronavirus from the NHS here: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

You may be looking for ways to stay active at home now that outdoor exercise is restricted, the NHS have a range of free home workout videos you can access here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio

Stay active as a family with these child friendly home workout options: https://www.weareteachers.com/virtual-pe-classes/

You can access mental health support over the internet or phone during Covid-19:

• For young people: https://www.kooth.com/

• For adults: https://www.good-thinking.uk/

• The Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org/ or call 116 123

If you are experiencing domestic abuse you can access support online here: https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/ or call the freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247

If you are experiencing child abuse you can call NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.

If you are in immediate danger do not hesitate to contact the police or ambulance service by calling 999.

Employment

Employment has been affected for millions of people and the Government has released advice on how to access financial support if your employment has suffered. Not everyone if eligible to receive support from government schemes and have been advised to claim Universal Credit. I am working hard to make the Government aware of holes in the systems and push for more support for people who do not qualify under the current criteria.

This is the official DWP website for claiming benefits including Universal Credit: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

You can see details and eligibility criteria for the Government’s Job Retention Scheme here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

You can see details and eligibility criteria for the Government’s Self-employment Income Support Scheme here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

You can find advice on your employment rights specifically related to Covid-19 here, including who can be furloughed: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/coronavirus-self-employed-and-employment-help/

The Mayor of London’s Employment Rights Hub provides information about different employment rights plus details of what to do if you’re having trouble at work: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/employment-rights-hub

Financial support

If you are suffering from financial difficulties during Covid-19 there are a number of ways to seek financial support. I am currently working with colleagues to ensure the Government issues further support packages for people facing financial difficulties. As the Government updates its guidance I will add this information below.

Advice on mortgages & other debts, rental help, energy top-ups and more can be found here: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/uk-coronavirus-help-and-your-rights/

Free debt advice and support from Step Change: https://www.stepchange.org/how-we-help/debt-advice.aspx#/

National housing support from Shelter: https://www.shelter.org.uk/

Greenwich Council Emergency Support Scheme: https://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/info/200246/benefits_advice/1376/emergency_support_scheme

Greenwich foodbank: https://greenwich.foodbank.org.uk/

Greenwich Council support for homelessness and housing issues: https://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/info/200187/homelessness/533/are_you_worried_about_becoming_homeless

Bexley foodbank: https://bexley.foodbank.org.uk/

Bexley Citizens Advice Bureau: http://www.bexleycab.org.uk/

Education

The Government has issued guidance that all students should stay home and therefore not attend educational institutions at this time. However, if you are a key worker and cannot access childcare you are able to access education provision. You can find official government guidance on this here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Parents, young people and staff can ask any questions relating to education and Covid-19 by contacting the Department for Education Helpline:

Phone: 0800 046 8687 (Open: 8am to 6pm Monday-Friday and 10am to 4pm Saturday-Sunday)

Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk

There are lots of helpful resources to be found online for children, you can access the educational activities for free using the links below.

There are lot of options to stay active at home, find one that suits you here: https://www.weareteachers.com/virtual-pe-classes/

Fun and free educational activities and games:
https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/covid-19-support-for-parents

Child friendly educational Youtube videos in just about everything: https://www.youtube.com/crashcoursekids
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7EFWpvc1wYuUwrtZ_BLi9A

Support for constituents abroad and travel advice

I have many constituents who are currently stranded abroad, and I have been lobbying the FCO hard to ensure they are able to return home safely and as soon as possible.

The Government has released this information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

However, if you are in urgent need of assistance in returning to the UK follow the steps below so that I am able to provide you with support:

  • Please check if you are a constituent by entering your UK postcode: https://www.theyworkforyou.com
  • Email your details to abena.oppongasare.mp@parliament.uk and I will send these to the FCO in London: Full name, UK address, Date of birth, Passport number, Current location, contact phone number, and details of any medical conditions.
  • Register with your nearest embassy or consulate – and get confirmation that they have received your details and contact information.
  • Keep monitoring your local FCO Twitter feed for the most up to date information on the ground – @UKinPeru / @UKinIndia / @UkinNZ etc.

If your travel has been affected due to Covid-19 you can find information about holiday refunds, travel insurance cover and more here: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/02/coronavirus-travel-help-and-your-rights/

Support for foreign national constituents resident in Erith and Thamesmead

This is advice for visa customers and applicants. If you’re in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020 your visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to Coronavirus.

Please contact the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre for more information:

  • Phone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
  • Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

Volunteering opportunities

It has been heart-warming to see communities in Erith and Thamesmead pull together to support one another during this time. If you are interested in offering your skills to support people you can find useful ways to do this below.

A list of London-wide volunteering groups can be found here: https://www.theresident.co.uk/london-culture-events/londons-coronavirus-mutual-aid-groups-a-complete-list/

Volunteering opportunities in Bexley

Bexley Voluntary Service Council is working with the community to support people, you can sign up to volunteer here: https://bvsc.co.uk/Covid-19

For more information from Bexley Council on their response and what they are doing around COVID-19 (Coronavirus) see this link: https://www.bexley.gov.uk/services/public-health/coronavirus-information-and-support

Volunteering opportunities in Greenwich

Greenwich Council has launched an initiative to link volunteers to support each other through a community hub which you can sign up for here: https://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/info/200154/council_and_elections/2197/coronavirus_covid-19/4
For more information on what Greenwich Council are doing around COVID-19 (coroanvirus) please see this link for more information: https://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/coronavirus