How to get help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

If you need help, advice or support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you can find out how to apply for this below. A range of services in Barnsley are also continuing to provide specialist help and support.

Financial support for food, housing or utilities  

Our COVID-19 hardship fund includes financial support available through:

  • the local welfare assistance scheme - including referrals to foodbanks, support towards daily living costs, help with utility bills and rent arrears;

  • discretionary housing payments - providing for a top-up of rent for a temporary period to help people facing a crisis to stay in their homes;

  • council tax discretionary relief - additional relief for council tax is you already receive council tax support but are suffering from extreme financial hardship.

Find out more about the COVID-19 hardship fund and apply for support.

Test and Trace support payment

If you've been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self isolate, you could be entitled to a payment of £500 (depending on your circumstances) to support you if you're unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.

Find out about the Test and Trace support payment and apply.

Support to get essential food if you're clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) or self-isolating

You can request support to help you get essential food if you've been unable to order food (online or by phone) to be delivered by a supermarket, you don't have any family, friends or neighbours who are able to go food shopping on your behalf, and you're:

  • clinically extremely vulnerable - you're classed as this if:
    • you have a certain medical condition;
    • your clinician or GP has added you to the 'shielded patient list' because they deem you to be at high risk of serious illness if you catch the virus; or
    • you've been identified through the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment as potentially being at high risk of serious illness if you catch the virus).

      You can find out if you're classed as clinically extremely vulnerable on GOV.UK.


  • self-isolating (either because you or a member of your household or support bubble has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus, you've been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, or you've arrived in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk).

Before you request support to get essential food

  • You can order food (online or by phone) from supermarkets who provide a delivery service. Please only request support to get essential food if you've been unable to get a delivery slot.

  • If you have internet access and just need some help to do an online grocery shop, you should request digital support instead. One of our digital champions will contact you to help you complete this.

Help to get your prescription/medication

You can contact your local GP or pharmacy to ask for prescription/medication support. Many pharmacies offer a delivery service.

Emergency support to get your prescription/medication

You can request emergency support from a Barnsley CCG volunteer to collect and deliver your prescribed medication if:

  • you're registered with a GP (doctor) in the Barnsley borough;
  • you're unable to leave your home to collect your medication and don't have anyone who is able to do this on your behalf; and
  • you only have enough medication left for three days or less.

Before you request emergency prescription/medication support

  • If your pharmacy usually deliver your medication and you want to confirm that they're still able to do this, please contact them for advice before requesting prescription support.

  • You need to have already ordered your medication from your GP and it must be ready for collection from your pharmacy before you can request support from a volunteer.

  • If you have enough medication to last four days or more you won't be able to request emergency prescription support. Please call 0808 196 3646 to request help instead from a NHS volunteer responder through the Royal Voluntary Service.

  • If you're in financial crisis and can't afford to pay for your prescriptions as a direct result of COVID-19, please see our local welfare assistance scheme. You can check whether you need to pay prescription charges on the NHS website or by calling the NHS help with health costs line on 0300 330 1343.

How to request emergency prescription/medication support

To request emergency prescription/medication support call us on (01226) 774444 or 0808 196 3531 (freephone) between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

After requesting support you'll be contacted within 24 hours to arrange for your medication to be collected.

If you have an urgent medication request on a weekend please call (01226) 433777.

Help to use the internet

If you need some support to use the internet to help you keep in touch with family and friends or shop online during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can request digital support by filling in our online form below.

Our digital champions can provide free digital sessions and over-the-phone support to talk you through how to get started with video calling (such as using FaceTime or Skype), using social media (including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp), or how to shop online safely.

You can call us to request support between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday on:

  • (01226) 774444
  • 0808 196 3531 (freephone)


Specialist help and support services

Alzheimer's and dementia 

Barnsley Alzheimer's Society

Barnsley Alzheimer's Society provide services including dementia adviser support, memory cafe and singing for the brain. Their experienced advisers can provide you with personalised practical and emotional support for people with dementia and their carers.

BIADS (Barnsley Independent Alzheimer's and Dementia Support)

BIADS provides support to those who have any form of dementia, as well as their families and friends.

Autism and learning disabilities


Speakup is run by and for people with learning disabilities and autism. They have a range of services that can support you, including the below:

Prioritise Me

Prioritise Me is a training resource to show you how to join the 'priority services register' with your energy company. You'll also find other training presentations and films that will help support you, such as how to save energy and still keep warm, understand energy bills and switch providers.  

Peaceful Minds

Peaceful Minds can help you with ideas for things to do when staying at home. You'll also find information about online yoga sessions and quizzes.

For more information


Age UK Barnsley

Age UK Barnsley offer a telephone befriending service for people living in the borough aged 50 and over. They can provide a regular friendly conversation over the phone with one of their volunteer befrienders, to help reduce loneliness and isolation, increase personal wellbeing and to provide companionship.


b:friend is a charity working to reduce social isolation and loneliness in older people in the Dearne and the wider Barnsley area. Befriending is available to anyone aged 65 or over, living alone who is lonely and/or at risk of social isolation.

Warm Connections (DIAL)

Warm Connections is a service provided by DIAL that can provide emotional and practical support to isolated and vulnerable residents of in the North Area Council area. They also offer an over-the-phone befriending service.


Listening Ear

Listening Ear offers support to anyone who has been bereaved or needs additional support; for example, people working in caring roles. It provides support, advice or guidance to anyone who needs it. 


Barnsley Carers Service

Barnsley Carers Service is a free-to-access service to support unpaid carers. They can help you with information and advice, one-to-one support, help getting into employment, events and activities, befriending, and assistance with accessing grant funding.

Children, young people and families

0-19 Public Health Nursing Service

Barnsley's 0-19 Public Health Nursing Service offer a range of services including antenatal and postnatal support, growth and development assessments, advice about common childhood illness, managing behaviour difficulties, managing behaviour difficulties, and many more.

Families Information Service (FIS)

Barnsley Family Information Service provides free and confidential information and advice for the whole family. 

Family centres

Family centres deliver joined-up early help services for children from pre-birth up to 19 years (or 25 years if the young person has a disability).

Family Lives

Family Lives provide targeted early intervention and crisis support to families who are struggling.
The issues they support families with include family breakdown, challenging relationships and behaviour, debt, and emotional and mental wellbeing.

Targeted Youth Support Service

The Targeted Youth Support Service brings together a range of agencies who work together to help young people who are taking risks or experiencing difficulties get back on the right path.

Disability support

Barnsley Blind and Partially Sighted Association

Advice, support and guidance to blind and partially sighted people, as well as their family, friends and carers.

DIAL (Disability Information Advice Line)

DIAL is a local service supporting disabled people and their families in Barnsley. They provide free confidential information, advice and support to enable local people to live independent lives.

RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People)

One of the UK’s leading sight loss charities and the largest community of blind and partially sighted people.

Domestic abuse

IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services)

IDAS is a specialist charity supporting anyone experiencing or affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence.

Inspire to Change 

Inspire to Change is a programme for people who have been abusive, controlling or violent towards their partner. The course combines learning and support tailored to an individual’s need and is free for those who are motivated to make a change in their behaviour and work to improve their relationships.

Drugs and alcohol 

Recovery Steps

Recovery Steps provide free and confidential support to help people make changes to their drug or alcohol use.


Enterprising Barnsley

If you've lost your job, are out of work, employed but at risk of redundancy, or employed and want to do some free training to help progress at work or get a new job, Enterprising Barnsley are able to give you free support via their helpdesk.

Finance and housing

Barnsley Community First Credit Union 

Savings and loans credit union.

Big Local - Thurnscoe

Community group offering discretionary grants of up to £500 for start-up and small businesses wanting to try something new or adapt their business due to coronavirus.

Citizens Advice Barnsley

Citizens Advice Barnsley offer free, confidential, independent and impartial advice to support with a range of problems.


Expert advice and support around housing, rent and mortgages.


If you have a foodbank voucher, the table below shows the opening times of foodbank locations over the Christmas period.

Date Foodbank Opening times
Wednesday 23 December Hope House Cafe, Barnsley 10am to 12pm
Thursday 24 December (Christmas Eve) St George's Church, Barnsley 11am to 1pm
Friday 25 December (Christmas Day) All locations Closed
Monday 28 December All locations Closed
Tuesday 29 December Wesley Church, Darfield 9.30am to 11.30am
Tuesday 29 December St Andrew's Church, Penistone 10am to 11.15am
Wednesday 30 December Hope House Cafe, Barnsley 10am to 12pm
Thursday 31 December (New Year's Eve) St George's Church, Barnsley 11am to 1pm
Thursday 31 December (New Year's Eve) Welfare Hall, Great Houghton 10am to 12pm
Friday 1 January (New Year's Day) All locations Closed

General COVID-19 advice and guidance

GOV.UK WhatsApp service

GOV.UK have a free WhatsApp service to provide COVID-19 advice and guidance using online chatbots. The service can offer advice on prevention, symptoms and the latest number of cases in the UK. 

Send the word hi in a WhatsApp message to 07860 064422 to get started. You can find out more on the GOV.UK website.

Mental health 

24-hour helpline

If you're an adult experiencing emotional distress, you can get confidential help and support 24-hours a day by calling 0800 183 0558.

This helpline provides a listening ear, emotional support and guidance to adults with new or existing mental health conditions, as well as support for carers.

Mind: Rotherham and Barnsley

Mind are a mental health charity supporting those in need by promoting good mental health and offering high quality support so that no-one feels alone when dealing with mental health problems.

Recovery College 

Offers a wide range of courses and workshops to improve your wellbeing through learning. Their courses focus on being mentally and physically healthy, staying well and developing the knowledge and strength to overcome the challenges that we can all face at times in our lives.


If you need someone to talk to, are having a difficult time, or aren't feeling OK, Samaritans can support you.


TADS offers support for young people with minor mental health problems including anxiety, depression and stress.

Umbrella services 

Offers a range of low level mental health support such as self-help courses, telephone advice, counselling and befriending - which link local volunteers to offer support and companionship.

Older people

Age UK Barnsley

Age UK Barnsley offer a telephone befriending service for people living in the borough aged 50 and over. They can provide a regular friendly conversation over the phone with one of their volunteer befrienders, to help reduce loneliness and isolation, increase personal wellbeing and to provide companionship.


b:friend is a charity working to reduce social isolation and loneliness in older people in the Dearne and the wider Barnsley area. Befriending is available to anyone aged 65 or over, living alone who is lonely and/or at risk of social isolation.

Sexual health and sexual abuse

Barnsley Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Services (BSARCS)

Specialist service for people whose lives have been affected by rape, sexual abuse, sexual assault or any kind of sexual violence.

Spectrum Community Health CIC

Spectrum delivers integrated sexual health services across Barnsley, including contraception, screening and tests for sexually transmitted infections, vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B, and advice on unplanned pregnancy and other sexual health issues.

Stopping smoking 

Yorkshire Smoke Free

Yorkshire Smokefree provides expert NHS advice and support for anyone who wants to stop smoking.