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    If you, or relative, is self-isolating and need some local support, there are lots of community groups that can help.

    Getting practical help 

    A new helpline has been launched to support vulnerable people in Kent who needs help during the Coronavirus outbreak.

    The helpline will be open 24 hours a day and you can also call if you are worried about someone else.

    They will assess your needs and put you in touch with local support.  Call 03000 41 92 92

     Transport 

    Please make sure you are following the latest government guidance on leaving your home, social distancing and self-isolation. 

    Kent County Council has lifted restrictions on senior citizen bus passes. They can now be used on buses before 9.30am. 

    Sevenoaks District Council has also suspended parking charges across its car parks and on street pay and display bays from Saturday 21 March 2020 until further notice. Drivers will still need to follow the parking rules, including the maximum stay. 

    Some local taxi firms are offering free transport to older people and vulnerable groups. Check with your local firm. There are a limited amount of taxi firms that will take bookings from those who are self-isolating. These ar:

    • Sevenoaks
      • Sevenoaks Taxis - 01732 741122 (limited drivers, call in advance)
    • Tonbridge and Malling
      • C.C Travel - 07703 803468 (hackney carriage)
    • Gravesham
      • Saturn - 01474 353535 (limited drivers)
    • Medway
      • Windmill Taxis - 01634 582582 (one vehicle operating)
    • Maidstone
      • Cavalier Taxis - 01622 754000 (limited drivers)
      • Express Cabs - 01622 222222 (request vehicle with glass screen)
    • Sittingbourne
      • White Cab Company - 01795 422222 (hackney carriage)
      • Sittingbourne Cabs - 01795 426600 (limited drivers, call in advance)

    Shopping 

    If you are unable to shop, please see the guidance above about getting help.

    Most supermarkets are making arrangements to make sure a priority service is offered for vulnerable groups and key workers. Many have changed opening hours. Please check with your local store before you leave home. 

    • Sainsbury's
      • Open to NHS and social care workers only 7.30-8am every day from Monday to Saturday (ID required)
      • Open to elderly and disabled customers and carers only 8-9am Monday, Wednesday and Friday
      • From Monday 23 March, online delivery slots will be prioritised for vulnerable groups. See the Sainsbury’s website for more details.
    • Waitrose
      • First hour of trading for older and disabled customers only
    • Tesco
      • Open for vulnerable groups only 9-10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
    • Marks and Spencer
      • Open for NHS and emergency workers only for the first hour of trading on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
      • Open for vulnerable and older customers only for the first hour of trading on Mondays and Thursdays  

    Many local shops, such as farm shops and greengrocers are offering local delivery services. Please contact your local shops, or local voluntary support group for more information. 

    Mental health support 

    Staying at home can present many challenges, practically and emotionally, and it's important to look after your mind as well as your body. The NHS have published some guidance and information about staying at home, and tips on how to cope. 

    You can also access Kent based support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by texting the word Kent to 85258 or by calling 0800 107 0160 for free confidential support at any time. A team of trained counsellors is available for every mental health concern.

    You can also webchat with Mental Health Matters, an independent charity, who are available 24/7.

    Mind also have wellbeing information and resources on their website. 

    Domestic abuse 

    Being told to stay at home may make you, or someone you know, feel unsafe. Domestic abuse is a crime- the police will respond as usual and there are helplines and support services that can help. 

    If you, or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 999

    For non-emergencies, call 101 

    To find a support service near you, visit http://www.domesticabuseservices.org.uk/

    You can also call the Domestic Abuse National Helpline on 0800 2000 247

    You can also get in touch with your Tenancy Services officer by emailing mytenancy@wkha.org.uk or by calling 01732 749 400. Your TSO will be able to offer you guidance and signpost you to services that can help. 

    NHS Responders

    The health secretary has announced the government is seeking volunteers to help the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.

    The volunteers will support the 1.5m vulnerable people who have been asked to self-isolate to protect themselves from COVID-19.

    There are four types of volunteers, they are:

    • Community response: This involves collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating. You would also deliver these supplies to their home.
    • Patient transport volunteer: This supports the NHS by providing transport to patients who are medically fit for discharge, and ensuring they are settled safely back in to their home.
    • NHS transport volunteer: This involves transporting equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites. It may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery.
    • Check-in and chat volunteer: You will provide short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation.

    You can find out more information and sign up by visiting www.goodsamapp.org/NHS.