Information from Cumbria County Council, local NHS, district councils and the community and voluntary sector will land on the doormats of households across Cumbria this week.
Councillor Deborah Earl, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said: “This week, every household in Cumbria will receive a support booklet which covers a wide range of help for people who may be struggling.
“Anyone in Cumbria who is struggling is urged to seek help sooner rather than later.
“We know there is lots of help available for people who may be struggling emotionally or financially with issues caused by the pandemic.
“Don’t wait for problems to get worse, there are organisations that can help, so lookout for our booklet, call our emergency support helpline or go to cumbria.gov.uk to find the support you need.”
The ‘Help is here’ campaign is also running online and people who are struggling can go to Cumbria County Council’s website at cumbria.gov.uk to find help quickly. Organisations from across the county have contributed to the online information, which includes a new search tool, and support for people struggling to feed themselves or their families, debt and housing advice, benefits and financial grants, mental wellbeing and more.
Eagle-eyed residents will notice that the shielding guidance in the booklet is now out of date due to the booklet being printed, and sent for distribution, before the lockdown measures were expected, and when the tier system was in place.
The tier system is expected to be reintroduced after the lockdown so the information will be relevant again in a few weeks.
While in lockdown the Government is advising clinically extremely vulnerable people to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend essential health appointments. Letters are already being delivered to people on the shielding list which detail the extra precautionary measures they’re advised to follow to keep themselves safe. The latest guidance is also available now on gov.uk/coronavirus.
For residents who need urgent help finding food and essential items, or if they are struggling to cope with their current situation for whatever reason, they should call the county council’s Emergency Support Helpline on 0800 783 1966 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 4.30pm).
Carolyn Otley, Chair of Cumbria’s Community Resilience Group, said: “There are a lot of people who have had a difficult time recently, particularly if their income has reduced, and we know that another lockdown is increasing those pressures. Many of us could do with a bit of extra support right now.
“We want people to know there is help available, it’s ok to look for that help and it’s ok to talk to a friend or family member or to someone else about how you are feeling.
“The sources of help on the county council’s website and in the booklet are reliable local and national organisations. You won’t be judged, no one will criticise you, but they will be able to offer guidance and advice or even just a listening ear.”
Dr Amanda Boardman, GP Lead for mental health for NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “As we go back into lockdown we want people across Cumbria to know the NHS is here for them and our GPs, community, mental health and hospital services are very much open. They may look and feel a little different as we ask patients to wear face coverings and we might offer telephone and online consultations, as well as face to face appointments if needed.
“We are also keen that anyone who is worried they may have a symptom of cancer feel confident they can ask for help and will be seen.
“We want to remind people it is entirely normal when big events affect your life that you feel stressed and anxious. But as well as NHS services, there is support online that might help, and the website and booklet which will go through every door in Cumbria has quick links to trusted sources of support.”