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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

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

As of 5 January 2021, new national lockdown restrictions are in effect. Some people may need help to access food, medicine or other support because they are shielding, they need to self-isolate or because their usual support network is affected in some way.

If you need help and don't have any support

Complete our online form

If you don’t have family, friends or a support network that can help you get the things you need we can help you. Let us know the support you need by completing our online form: 

Start now

Phone us

Alternatively, you can call us on 01305 221000, 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

NHS Test and Trace

See the GOV.UK website for an overview of the NHS Test and Trace service, including how it works and what happens if you, or someone you have been in close contact with, tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Find out about the NHS Test and Trace support payment for employed or self-employed people who have been told to self-isolate.

Access to food

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

The Government has decided to no longer provide weekly food parcels, and instead are encouraging people to make use of priority delivery slots from supermarkets to ensure they have a supply of food and other essentials. You should register your details online  to gain access to a priority supermarket delivery slot and other support. If you previously received this service, you may need to re-register your details to continue to access this service.

It is helpful if you register even if you do not have any support needs at this time. You can log in and update your needs if your circumstances change.

We have been working closely with local support groups and charities to help provide communities with the best support possible. If you would like to find out more about the types of community support available, you can search for your local area on the Help and Kindness website

Who should I go to for support?

Help with food shopping and delivery, collecting medicine, dog walking, befriending


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.

If you are finding it difficult to manage your personal care, or the care of a family member

Medical assistance

Please continue to contact your GP or Health Professional.

For urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service or call 111.

For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance. If you’re advised to go to hospital, it’s important to go.

If you need medicines or prescriptions delivered, please contact your usual pharmacy in the first instance.  

Wellbeing support and local mental health and therapy services

Please visit the Dorset Healthcare website. You'll find information and advice and helpline numbers to deal with the stress and distress of facing COVID-19.

If you are in urgent need of mental health advice and support, Dorset HealthCare's Connection service offers a 24-hour helpline on 0300 123 5440.

Virtual befriending service

You can register with the Volunteer Centre Dorsetto become a befriender and chat to others, or you can chat to someone because you’re feeling lonely. Call 01305 229214 or to register for either service. 

Community-based schemes and support groups

If you want to know what’s happening or what is available in your local area, please visit the Help and Kindness website.

Age UK North, South and West Dorset can also help with accessing community support as well as helping get essentials such as food and medicine. Call 01305 269444 or

Residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and East Dorset will need to contact 01202 530 530 or 

Finance related, claiming benefits or employment advice

If you are struggling financially and need some advice, call Dorset Citizens Advice line on 0800 144 8848, textphone 0800 144 8884 or visit ourReaching Out pages.

Heating or energy costs

Call the Citizens Advice Dorset Energy helpline on 01929 775500.

Safe & Well

Safe & Well is a ​completely free service offered by Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to help keep our residents safer from fire in their homes. To request Safe & Well advice please call 0800 038 2323.

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?

We know that not everyone is confident using online services. We have set up a free hotline run by digital volunteers for anyone with queries about getting online or improving your online skills. Anyone can call the Dorset Digital Hotline with a digital question on 01305 221048, Monday to Friday from 10am - 12noon. Outside of those times you can leave a message and a Digital Champion will get back to you.

They can assist you with things like:

  • help with video conferences and calling such as on Skype, Zoom or Facetime
  • online shopping and banking
  • accessing virtual books, magazines and TV channels
  • accessing health information and supporting you or your children to learn online

If you are on a low income and do not have a broadband connection or device at home to connect to the internet, we may be able to help you to get set up. 

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

Staying safe if someone else is doing your shopping - poster

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