Our COVID-19 contact centre provides help for those who need support due to the disruptions caused by coronavirus. The service is for people who don't have any support networks to help them through this period, including those who are vulnerable and need emergency support with things such as essential food or help with medication.
Government support for individuals who are extremely vulnerable from COVID-19
If you have a medical condition which makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus you can register to receive support from the government on the GOV.UK website. If you're extremely vulnerable you may have received a letter from the NHS by Sunday 29 March 2020 telling you this, or have been contacted by your GP or hospital clinician telling you to 'shield'.
How to request support from the government
You can register to receive support from the government for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, on the GOV.UK website if you have a medical condition which makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.
If you believe you're classed as extremely vulnerable but haven't received a letter from the NHS or been contacted by your GP or hospital clinician, please contact them after you register for the government's service.
You can also register by calling 0800 028 8327.
You’ll be asked for your NHS number when you register, which you can find on any letter from the NHS or on your prescription. You can still register for the government's service even if you don't have this.
It may take some time for any support offered by the government to arrive. Wherever possible, you should continue to rely on friends, family and wider support to help you meet your needs.
If you don't have someone able to help you, you can request emergency food, support with your prescription/medication and other support from the council by filling in our online forms below.
Emergency support for individuals
You can request emergency support for essential food or with the collection of your prescription medication by filling in our online forms below.
Request emergency essential food from the council
You can request emergency essential food due to the coronavirus pandemic if:
- you've been identified by the NHS as someone at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus due to having an underlying health condition (you'll have received a letter from the NHS by Sunday 29 March 2020 if this is the case), and you either have a special dietary requirement or you're waiting for food to be delivered after registering for government support.
- you've not been identified as being at severe risk, but you're unable to leave your home to go food shopping, you don't have anyone who is able to do this on your behalf, and you have less than seven days' worth of food in your home.
What you'll receive
After filling in the food request form one of our advisers will contact you. You'll receive one emergency food parcel; you'll need to fill the form in again if you need additional essential food support in the future.
The emergency food parcel will contain ambient food; long-life products that can be stored safely at room temperature. This could be things such as UHT milk, tinned foods and packet products.
The food parcel won't include fresh products, such as fresh milk, fruit or vegetables.
Before you request emergency food
- The NHS has produced guidance for people who may be at increased risk from coronavirus, which includes people who are over 70, are pregnant, or have certain medical conditions. The advice if you're at increased risk is the same as for most other people; you should only leave the house for very limited purposes, but this does include being able to go shopping for basic necessities including food.
- If you're in financial crisis due to an emergency or unexpected circumstances, please see our local welfare assistance scheme. This can provide food, support with paying for utilities, and household items following an unforeseen event.
- For children who are eligible for free school meals, this support is still available whilst schools are closed due to COVID-19. Find out more about free school meals during the coronavirus pandemic.
Request emergency support to get your prescription / medication
You can request support from one of our volunteers to collect and deliver your prescribed medication if you're registered with a GP (doctor) in the Barnsley borough and:
- you've been identified by the NHS as someone at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus due to having an underlying health condition (you'll have received a letter from the NHS by Sunday 29 March 2020 if this is the case);
- you've not been identified as being at severe risk but you're unable to leave your home to collect your medication, you don't have anyone who is able to do this on your behalf, and you have less than 10 days' worth of medication left at home.
If your medication includes controlled drugs
Our volunteers cannot deliver controlled drugs for which a signature is required in the blue box on the back of your prescription. Examples of controlled drugs include:
- opioid medicines such as morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl or buprenorphine, often prescribed for severe pain (this does not include codeine, co-codamol or dihydrocodeine);
- pregabalin or gabapentin;
- some sleeping tablets or medicines for anxiety, such as temazepam.
If you're prescribed a controlled drug, please contact your pharmacy directly to request support to get your medication.
Before you request prescription/medication 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 one of our volunteers.
Please contact your local pharmacy for advice before requesting prescription support if:
they usually deliver your medication and you want to confirm if they're still able to do this for you; or
you have more than 10 days' worth of medication at home but you're worried that you won't be able to collect your repeat prescription the next time it's due.
- 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.
Other support for individuals
You can request non-emergency support for a volunteer to help you with essential shopping, or to prevent social isolation through our over-the-phone befriending service, by filling in our online forms below. You can also ask for digital support to help you keep in touch with family or friends, or shop online.
Request support with essential shopping
You can request support with shopping for essential items, such as food and toiletries, by filling in our online form below. This support is for essential but non-urgent shopping; if you need emergency essential food please fill in our emergency food request form for this instead.
After submitting your request we'll put you in contact with a volunteer who'll be able to help you with essential shopping. The volunteer will contact you within a few days of you making your request.
Please note, we're prioritising essential shopping support for those people who:
- are unable to leave their home; and
- don't have any family, friends or neighbours who are able to shop on their behalf.
Request support for social isolation
You can request social isolation/befriending support by filling in our online form below.
This service is to help local people who are self-isolating to feel supported and connected by chatting regularly to a local volunteer, and can make a huge difference to your wellbeing.
Please note, this isn't a substitute for professional support if your mood is really low; find out about professional support services available during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Request digital support
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 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.
Information if you receive adult social care support
If you already receive support from adult social care and you're concerned about your care arrangements, you should contact our adult social care team by calling (01226) 773300. The team are available from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
If your situation is urgent you can contact our emergency duty team outside of these hours on (01226) 787789.
Read our full adult social care COVID-19 (coronavirus) update.
Other support services
- For employment support visit the Enterprising Barnsley website.
- The Migrant Information Hub from Migration Yorkshire includes useful information and resources to help migrants, and those supporting them, stay safe, connected and informed about COVID-19.
- Other help and support services available during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Support for services
Emergency personal protective equipment (PPE) for care workers
If you're a care provider or someone delivering care as a personal assistant (PA) you can request emergency PPE from us if you've been unable to obtain this from existing suppliers.
Help for services that support vulnerable people
If your service supports vulnerable people who may have difficulties or need emergency help due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) disruption, we can help you with volunteers. Emergencies may relate to issues such as staff shortages.
Please tell us a few details about your organisation or group so we can make sure we put you in contact with community responders who have the skills you need.
Other ways to contact us
If you're unable to fill the online forms in, you can call us on either:
- (01226) 774444 or
- 0808 196 3531 (freephone)
Lines are open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday. Please only use these phone numbers for calls regarding vulnerable people in relation to coronavirus. The time we spend answering general enquiries means we have less resources to help those who desperately need it.
Details of how to contact us are also available in Easy Read format.
If you're a BSL (British Sign Language) user you can contact us using our video relay service. You can also find out more about the BSL video relay service and how to use it.