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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice

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I need help or I know someone who needs help - coronavirus information

Many vulnerable people in Dorset will have recently received a letter from the NHS, telling them they are at high risk of catching coronavirus and advising them to stay at home and strictly self-isolate for 12 weeks. If you have been identified as someone at high risk, you should follow the advice given in the letter you received from the NHS.

You should talk to family, friends or your support network to see if they can help you get food and medicine.

If you need help and don't have any support

Call us on 01305 221000

If you don’t have family, friends or a support network that can help you get the things you need, you can call 01305 221000, 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week to get specific help and advice.

Email us

Alternatively, you can email

Food parcels from the government

If you have received an NHS letter and if you have registered on the website as shielding, you may have received a weekly food parcel. This will contain enough food for one adult for one week.

If you want to cancel this, do one of the following:

  • refuse the parcel when it is delivered, this will then cancel it and remove you from the government distribution list
  • go to the website where you registered as shielded, go to the question 'Do you have a way of getting essential supplies delivered at the moment'. You previously answered no to this question, please now reply as yes. You will then be removed from the government distribution list
  • call 0800 028 8327 and make sure you have your NHS number (this will be on the top of your NHS letter). This is an automated phoneline and you will need to follow the instructions. You will be asked the question 'Do you have a way of getting essential supplies delivered at the moment'. You previously answered no to this question, please now reply as yes. You will then be removed from the government distribution list

Please note that deregistering from the food parcels will not cause you to lose your priority status slot for supermarket delivery.

Partners we are working with who can also help

Age UK - North, South and West Dorset 

Age UK North, South and West Dorset  are coordinating requests for help with issues relating to loneliness and isolation, or support in accessing items such as food, cash or medication. Support is available to all residents within the Dorset Council area including East Dorset.

To request help email Age UKor call 01305 269444.

Residents of Christchurch and Highcliffe who usually are covered by BCP council, will have support offered to them through Age Uk Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset. To request help call 01202 530 530.

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice continues to provide free, independent and confidential advice and information whatever your question. They offer a full range of advice including help with:

  • benefits entitlement and claims
  • debt management and budgeting
  • employment advice including Statutory Sick Pay and rights when laid off work
  • advice for the self employed

Contact the Dorset Adviceline on 0344 411 1444 or email your local branch:


You can contact your local foodbank for guidance on required items and how to drop off or collect items. Find details of your local foodbank.

Post Office cash schemes 

The Post Office have made it easier for those self-isolating to access cash products with the following schemes:

  • ‘Payout Now’ - this is a voucher sent by text, email or post to a self-isolating customer who can then share it with a trusted individual to withdraw cash on their behalf
  • ‘Fast PACE’ – this is a service that allows a self-isolating customer to arrange for a trusted individual to collect the cheque from them, cash it at Post Office, and return with the cash

Please see the following websites for further information:

Dorset Digital Hotline- free digital support

Do you need help getting online?

Due to the coronavirus lockdown our Digital Champions are offering IT support over the phone, along with some of our IT staff. 

Digital Champions are a group of volunteers, mostly made up of retired IT professionals, who usually hold sessions in libraries and community centres. See more information about how we can help you get online.

Staying safe – if someone else is doing your shopping

  • do ask for help – work with trusted organisations and volunteers
  • make arrangements for help over the phone with a trusted organisation, not with a stranger on the doorstep
  • don’t hand money over without having your shopping and a receipt
  • have your food left on the doorstep, do not let the person in your home
  • put money in an envelope and give to the volunteer at a distance
  • ensure you keep a 2 metre distance from the person delivering your shopping
  • wash your hands (for 20 seconds) and surfaces after unpacking the shopping
  • thank your lovely volunteer

Printable posters

We have created the following self-isolation posters for you to print and display in your window/front door if you are self-isolating. For safety, we advise using these resources and not the red,amber,green posters being shared online or similar posters that suggests only one person/someone vulnerable lives in the property.

Coronavirus - Self-isolation poster

Coronavirus - Weak immune system poster

Coronavirus - lockdown poster

Staying safe if someone else is doing your shopping - poster

Think twice before visiting Dorset poster

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