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Coronavirus - Community support

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Updated advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people

With more knowledge about the virus and due to the success of the vaccine programme and other treatments, people who were previously identified as CEV can continue to keep themselves safe by following the same guidance as everyone else. The shielding programme has now ended in England and you will soon receive a letter from the Department of Health and Social care explaining the reasons for this decision in more detail.

Some individuals who are immunosuppressed due to underlying health conditions or medical treatment will be offered a third vaccination to increase their chances of being protected against COVID-19. You will be invited to book your vaccine by the NHS at least 6 months after your second dose if it is recommended for you.

If you can’t have the vaccine for whatever reason, or if you are immunosuppressed, you should strongly consider taking additional precautions mentioned on the NHS website on additional things you can do to help keep yourself safe.

Many of you may still feel anxious about getting out and about. If that is the case for you, the community hub is still here to offer you support and advice. You can contact us on 01993 861077 or email

Local contact tracing system

A local contact tracing team is in place to contact anyone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19, and have been reached by the NHS test and trace system.

This service will run seven days a week. Calls will come from Oxfordshire Council using a local (01865) phone number. Text messages will also be sent to people telling them to expect a call and giving you a number to call back if you want.

If we cannot reach you by phone, your details will be passed to the local district or city council team who will visit you at home.  Oxfordshire Council will deliver a letter explaining why they are trying to get in touch and how to contact local call handlers.

If you have been asked to self-isolate

  • If you’ve been asked to self-isolate it is because you could be at risk of spreading the virus to others.
  • If you are feeling well, it’s still important to self-isolate as you can still pass on the virus before you have symptoms.
  • It is a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive or are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. You could be fined if you do not self-isolate.

We know self-isolating can be difficult - this page contains information about how and where to get help in Oxfordshire. Download the Oxfordshire County Council self-isolation pack here

Help and support to help you self-isolate

You may need help to self-isolate, from simple things like getting groceries to financial help if you cannot work from home.

You must self-isolate immediately if:

  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • you've tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
  • you live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive
  • someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
  • you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app
  • you arrive in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus

In some circumstances this is a legal requirement and you risk significant fines if you do not comply

There is lots of support available to help you stay safe at home:

  • Friends and family may be able to help with shopping and anything else you need
  • Many supermarkets and local and community shops will prioritise delivery for those required to self-isolate
  • Older people can contact Age UK Oxfordshire who offer a support and advice line. Contact 01865 411288. A ‘keep in touch’ phone contact service is also available
  • Your local community support group or town or parish council may also be able to help. Support groups remain listed at Oxfordshire All In
  • West Oxfordshire District Council is also here to help. We can put you in touch with a local community group and can help to arrange shopping deliveries from supermarkets if you are not able to do this unaided. Contact us on 01993 861077.

We know that for many, staying at home will have a major financial impact. Welfare support and advice is available from Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire implant web address: Contact 0800 144 8444.

£500 self-isolation test and trace payments

You could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace support payment if you live in England and meet all the following criteria:

  • You’ve been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app.
  • You’ve responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information. You will have been given contact tracing and advice service reference number by NHS Test and Trace, or by the app (it ill be an eight-digit code such as A1H4CHY5).
  • You’re employed or self-employed (those not working when told to self-isolate do not qualify for a payment).
  • You’re unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating (your local council will set a maximum weekly income that qualifies).
  • You’re currently receiving or are the partner of someone in the same household who is receiving, at least one of the following benefits:
  • universal credit
  • working tax credit
  • income-based employment and support allowance
  • income-based Jobseeker’s allowance
  • income support
  • housing benefit
  • pension credit.

If you’re not on one of these benefits, you could be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment if all the following apply:

  • you meet all the other criteria listed above
  • you’re on a low income
  • you will face financial hardship as a result of self-isolating.

Apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment from the Coronavirus –Council Tax and benefits page

Community support

The Oxfordshire All In website has details of local support you can access. You may also be interested in one of their volunteering opportunities, for example collecting prescriptions, shopping, keeping in touch.

If you are working with volunteers or want to organise a volunteer group the National Council for Voluntary Organisations has Covid-19 specific advice.

Food and essential supplies

Find information on how to get food and other essential supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.

Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund (HSF) has been launched by the government to offer a very important lifeline for vulnerable households who may struggle to afford life’s essentials over winter.

The money will primarily be used to help pay for food, energy, and water bills for vulnerable households, but other costs can also be covered.

At least 50% of the money has to go to households with children, but the remainder can go to households without children, including people living alone.

The funds are not restricted to people in receipt of benefits and there is no requirement that you must be employed or that you must be unemployed.

West Oxfordshire District Council will use the HSF to offer support to residents through a voucher scheme which will be available from 8th November 2021.

How to apply

This scheme is now closed to new referrals.

The Household Support Fund (HSF) voucher scheme managed by Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire has now closed. All available funds are expected to be fully allocated once existing referrals have been processed. Any referrals and applications submitted before 14 January 2022 will be processed and recipients will be contacted in due course. If further funds become available we will re-open the scheme and accept new referrals. Thank you to everyone for their support in administering this scheme.

Good Food Oxford is continuously updating the Oxfordshire food access map to signpost anyone in food need to community food services such as food banks, community larders, and food projects.

If you are struggling to pay fuel bills please contact Better Housing Better Health or Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire.

DEFRA has produced a list of food options for vulnerable people to help you get food when you need it.

Finances, housing and food banks

If you are struggling financially find out where you can access free or subsidised food.

The Department for Work and Pensions are regularly updating their website with information on how to claim benefits for people who have been affected by Coronavirus.

The Money Advice Service have lots of resources to help you find out what you might be entitled to, and where you can get financial help.

If you need help you can also contact Citizens Advice who can offer advice.

Housing Support

Connections provide support to those with a housing-related need, including facing homelessness, coupled with other needs that justify a tailored support plan of up to six months. Contact them by calling 01993 704061 or emailing

Health and wellbeing

Mental health

The charity Mind have lots of useful advice and tips about how to protect your mental health and reduce anxiety about Coronavirus. 

The Conversations has an article on staying connected and reducing loneliness whilst you are in isolation.

Age UK Oxfordshire have launched a new telephone service for older people who need support if they are self-isolating. Call 01865 411 288 and leave your name and number, someone will call you weekly to see how you are, chat and offer practical support if needed.

If you have a diagnosis of dementia, or are a carer or relative of someone who has, Dementia Oxfordshire can provide advice and support. Contact them Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm on 01865 410210  or email

Oxford Health NHS Trust Mental Health Helpline is a 24/7 mental health helpline for people of all ages who need mental health advice. Call them on 01865 904 997 for adults or 01865 904 998 for children and young people.

Guideposts is an information Service offering free support to anyone currently struggling with stress, anxiety or fatigue. Free advice and support  is available over the phone or by webchat, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Call them on 0800 048 7035 or email

Turning Point offer a drug and alcohol treatment and support service. You can contact them by calling 01993 849 405 or emailing

Staying active

One way you can help improve your mental health if you are self-isolating is by staying active. These organisations have produced tips and guides for people to stay active:

Active at Home

The Active at Home booklet (opens as a PDF) provides practical guidance to older adults on home-based activities to maintain their strength and balance.

It follows concerns that low levels of physical activity in older adults will lead to reduced fitness resulting in loss of independence and need for care in the future.


ElWell is a local company who support people to stay active as they get older. As home visits are currently not permitted they have been busy offering virtual support to people during self-isolation focusing on physical and mental wellbeing. They are also offering virtual physiotherapy sessions to help people stay mobile.

Domestic abuse

Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Services offers free services to anybody aged 16+ experiencing domestic abuse. Their Abuse Helpline is open Monday to Friday 10am to 7pm. Contact them by calling 0800 731 0055 or emailing

You can also call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

Town and Parish Councils

If you are a Town or Parish Councillor you can check how many people in your area are over 65 and so may be self-isolating and need extra support. 

The Oxfordshire Association of Local Councils is providing regular updates on how you can manage core services.

Voluntary groups and organisations

Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action provide advice, information and support for voluntary and community groups.

NHS Volunteer Responders Portal

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers have stepped up to support vulnerable people in England who are at most risk from the virus. These volunteers are matched via the GoodSAM app with members of their community who need support to stay well at home.

The help on offer ranges from support with grocery shopping and collecting prescriptions to ‘check in and chat’ phone calls. The volunteers will also help the NHS with patient transport and transport of medical equipment and supplies.

Health and social care professionals can refer people into this service whose medical conditions make them particularly vulnerable and at risk. It will be used by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, local authorities and others where there is no alternative local support and where friends and family of the individual are unable to help. This keeps hospital beds free and provides health professionals with a trusted, national database of volunteers.

NHS Volunteer Responders is being delivered by Royal Voluntary Service one of the country’s largest and longest-standing volunteering charities.


For more information on scams related to Coronavirus visit the Friends against Scams website. They have more information on different types and how to protect yourself.