CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) BRIEFING

As we provide services to those in later life via both our local group network and home visiting services we will continue to monitor all the relevant Government advice and provide updates as and when necessary: 

UPDATE: 11th May 2020

Following the Prime Minister's statement last night (10th May) we have re-issued an update to all our groups on COVID-19 which is shown as follows:

Group Network: all group activities will remain suspended. But we will be regularly reviewing the government advice and if there are any significant changes that are likely to change the current suspension of group activities, we will let you know.
Home Visiting Services: for the protection of both volunteers and beneficiaries the National Visitors Network will also remain suspended.
Fellowship Office: as staff can work from home, we will, as advised, continue to work remotely for the time being. This will be reviewed in the coming weeks with a view to working towards re-opening the office in a way we can adhere to the required social distancing and safety recommendations and ensure all staff are safe.

Our Phone Buddy Scheme remains fully operational and we will continue to be able to handle any enquiries by phone, post, or email.

UPDATE: 4th April 2020

News reaches us of a scam doing the rounds in the South West of England where scammers contact older people to offer to carry out shopping for them, take the money and then don't return with the goods!

So please be extra vigilant throughout this period and only engage with someone who is affiliated to a recognised local community project, supermarket or charity. Don't let the scammers win!!

UPDATE: 27th March 2020

Sadly the current COVID-19 Crisis has seen a huge increase in the number of scams so please be extra careful.

You can help protect & prevent people from becoming a victim of scams by taking the online scams awareness course created by Friends Against Scams (run by the National Trading Standards scams team) which is on their website friendsagainstscams.org.uk

UPDATE: 24th March 2020

Stay Home, Save Lives was the key message that was made by the Prime Minister in his broadcast to the nation last night. Even though its going to be tough and its going to mean a significant change to how we live our lives each day everyone now must follow the government advice and stay at home:

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

You can download a PDF giving full guidance on what to do by CLICKING HERE

The team at Fellowship Office are all following this advice and our staff will be working remotely until further notice. These will inevitably mean a change to how we respond and react to any enquiry and things will take longer. You can help us by using your email to contact us if you can and send to: [email protected] which will be regularly monitored. If you want us to ring you back just put your telephone number in with your message and we'll call you straight back.

We will continue to update this page with any relevant news and information and if you are not currently signed up to receive our regular e-newsletters then you can do so by sending your details to our enquiries inbox.

Stay Safe, Stay Home and Save Lives!

UPDATE: 22nd March 2020

Following the government's recommendation that people avoid travelling on public transport unless absolutely essential we have recommeded that all our staff work from home with immediate effect. We will be maintaining services as best we can throughout the coming weeks and months but things may take a lot longer (so please bear with us). If you do have email then we'd ask that you please use that as a first port of call and send to: [email protected] - if not then our phones will be on divert so you will be able to ring us.

UPDATE: 20th March 2020

The Government announced the closure of cafes, bars, pubs, restaurants, night clubs, pubs, gyms and leisure centres tonight (Friday 20th March 2020) and reminded everyone that they should follow the recommended requirements on social distancing.

Just to remind you all what the Government information on social distancing is:

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

They are:

  1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
  3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. 
  4. Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
  5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is pragmatic.

We strongly advise you to follow the above measures as much as you can and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, particularly if you:

  • are over 70
  • have an underlying health condition
  • are pregnant

This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.

To read the full information and advice, click the link below

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

UPDATE: 19th March 2020

Our friends at The Charity for Civil Servants have produced a very helpful page offering a range of signposting advice and guidance for where you might go for help and reassurance during the current situation. Click the link below to view

https://www.foryoubyyou.org.uk/get-help/what-do-crisis

UPDATE: 18th March 2020

As part of the new requirements we have implemented a new staff rota system to ensure that our office can remain open and our staff are not at risk.

So until further notice there will be only a skeleton staff covering the day-to-day requirements at Fellowship Office. This will mean that are likely to be periods when things might take longer than usual to action - so please bear with us as we will do the best we can to respond quickly. It may be necessary to close the office if too many staff have to self isolate or contract symptoms but if that does happen we will circulate a message to advise you accordingly.

The best initial method of communication would be by email to [email protected]  (so if you can use this that would be helpful and if you want us to ring you back when we receive your message, we will).

UPDATE: 17th March 2020

Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 16th March we have temporarily suspended all our local group activities and home visiting service (which will, where possible, be replaced by our telephone visiting scheme).

We have initially asked all groups to suspend all their group activities until the end of June but this may need to be extended further depending on how things progress.

You can find further Guidance on Social Distancing and Protecting Older People and Vulnerable Adults by clicking the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

You can find Stay at Home Guidance for Households with possible coronavirus infection by clicking the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Please do contact us if you have any questions or queries - you can call 020 8691 7411 or email: [email protected]

UPDATE: 16th March 2020

We have advised all of our groups to prepare for the likelihood that we may need to temporarily suspend group activities in the event that the Government brings in 'shielding' for older/vulnerable people. If 'shielding' is officially confirmed by the Government this will also mean we will have to temporarily suspend our home visiting services. Our Phone Buddy scheme though remains fully operational and we will be contacting current home visitors to advise they switch to providing telephone support to beneficiaries in place of a home visit.

UPDATE: 14th March 2020

A message from our Chair, Madeleine Alessandri CMG:

As the Prime Minister said on Thursday, that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now a global pandemic and the worst public health crisis for a generation. This is a dangerous disease which is going to spread further.

Against this backdrop, I am very grateful for the work of your CSRF team, under David Tickner’s leadership, in ensuring that all the latest government advice is clearly signposted to our beneficiaries on the website and guidance has issued to all our groups and befrienders.

These are worrying times and as the situation develops, we all need to ensure that we remain up to date with the latest medical advice and take care to ensure that we follow the simple precautions such as hand washing and self-isolating if we come down with a cough or fever.

The good news is that a virus can’t pass down a phone line - so I’d encourage you all to keep reaching out to friends and neighbours across the CSRF network by phone to stay in touch and to check in and support each other. A few extra calls won’t go amiss and for those who are worried about venturing into public places until the virus has passed, contact with a CSRF friend may be a welcome lifeline.

Please do get in touch with the CSRF team if you have any questions or queries. And please, take care and stay well through this challenging period.

UPDATE: 12th March 2020

With the Government's announcement today that we are now in the 'Delay Phase' of their Action plan there has been some specific advice issued for the delay phase which is summarised as follows:

  • Anyone over the age of 70 should avoid going on any cruises
  • Anyone experiencing any symptoms (dry cough, temperature) should self-isolate for 7 days. If you have very minor symptoms the recommendation is that you don't call 111. But if your condition gets worse then you should call 111.

There is a detailed set of guidance and advice published on the Gov website on what you should do if you have to self-isolate and you can view it by clicking the link below

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Group Activities
At the moment there is no recommendation that public events or activities are cancelled so we are not recommending that our groups stop meeting. However, we are recommending that our group leaders are aware of the recommended procedures and that remind all group attendees that if anyone experiences any symptoms they should not be attending group meetings during their period of self-isolation.

Home Visiting (National Visitors Network)
Our home visiting services remain open and operational. Although as with our group network all current befrienders and beneficiaries should make sure they are aware of recommended procedures to follow if they are experiencing any symptoms of the virus.

Fellowship Office
It remains business as usual at Fellowship Office but if any of our team have to self-isolate then this may have an impact on the provision of some of our services. 

Health & Hygiene guidelines
Current Government advice is that individuals should follow good hygiene practices including:

• carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, and binning the tissue;
• washing hands with soap and water (for 20 seconds) or using sanitiser gel to kill germs.

Keep yourself informed
There is a lot of contradictory information circulating via social media. You should make sure you refer to both the Government and NHS websites that are being regularly updated with relevant information and advice.

NHS         www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Gov.UK    www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Contingency Planning
As you will appreciate, the situation regarding COVID-19 is rapidly changing and we may have to make some changes to how our services are delivered as the government advice is updated. We have a contingency plan ready in the event this needs to happen and we will ensure that we circulate any updates to beneficiaries and volunteers when and if relevant.

But if you are concerned or worried then you can give us a call on 020 8691 7411 or email: en[email protected]