Coronavirus help & advice
You’ll find useful information below including the latest guidance from the Government and the NHS, financial support for the self-employed and businesses, an update on working tax credits, as well as advice on benefits, housing, energy bills and consumer rights.
There’s also a section at the end about volunteering and making donations to our local foodbank.
If you need help, or know someone who does, contact Westminster Connects:
- Email: email@example.com
- Call: 020 7641 1222 – 9am to 6pm 7 days a week
- Website: westminster.gov.uk/westminster-connects
Westminster Connects can help with:
- shopping for food/supplies
- delivering food/supplies to vulnerable residents
- picking up prescriptions
- having a friendly phone conversation with those at risk of loneliness when in isolation
- walking dogs for those self-isolating
- supporting with critical transport needs
- helping with digital skills coaching
If you are concerned about an adult who you think requires social care and support, or you have a safeguarding concern, call 020 7641 1444 or 020 7641 1175 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are concerned about a child and you have a safeguarding concern, call 0207 641 4000 or email AccesstoChildrensServices@westminster.gov.uk
Find a map of local and community-led organisations that are able to provide support services at this time.
Government guidance & support
Click here for coronavirus information translated into a range of languages.
Mayor of London – latest information and guidance for those living and working in London
National Health Service – latest guidance from the NHS on Covid-19
Many people will struggle with their mental health during this emergency, sometimes for the first time. There are lots of useful helplines and sources of advice available.
Mind: 0300 123 3393 or visit the website here
Mental health emergency?
- 0800 0234 650
- Samaritans 116 123
- Childline 0800 1111
Financial support for businesses and self-employed
Self-employment Income Support Scheme If you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant.
Businesses may also contact Westminster Council’s Business Unit on email@example.com or 020 7641 2070 or visit the website Officers can arrange a dedicated 15minute telephone consultations during usual business hours.
Employment Support Allowance (ESA) benefit for those who are self-isolating due to C-19 symptoms or have other ill-health or a disability.
Benefits and Working Tax Credit uprating
Claiming Universal Credit
Many temporary changes have been made to help people claiming or receiving benefits – see here for details. A USEFUL TIP – if you are unable to complete your claim in one go because the system is overloaded, and worry that you may lose out because of this TAKE A SCREEN GRAB or print the screen in an email as evidence for back-dating.
For help with benefits contact:
Westminster Citizens Advice Bureau
- 0300 330 1191
Zacchaeus 2000 Trust (Z2K)
- Helpline: 020 7259 0801 – 10am to 4pm
- Enquiry form: visit www.Z2K.org
Working Tax Credit Uprating -update
Working Tax Credits payments were increased by £1,045 to £3,040 per year from 6 April 2020 until 5 April 2021.
The amount a claimant or household will benefit from will depend on their circumstances, including their level of household income. But the increase could mean up to an extra £20 each week.
The increased payments will come into effect on the 6 April, but individual payment dates will vary. Only contact HMRC if you have not received an increased payment by 18 May. Find out more about Working Tax Credit payments on the HMRC app or through a Personal Tax Account
Energy suppliers have launched an emergency package of support to ensure that customers are able to keep their gas and electricity supply. Customers with pre-payment meters who can’t leave home, should speak to their supplier who can send a pre-loaded gas or electricity card by post or facilitate adding credit remotely. Anyone struggling to pay a bill should speak to their supplier. Click here for more information.
If you rent your home and are facing an eviction STAY PUT- no legal action can be taken to evict you until at least 25 June due to coronavirus. Click here for more information from Shelter
For more help contact:
- 0344 515 2048
- 0207 641 1000 or
- complete the online form at www.westminster.gov.uk/homelessness
During the coronavirus crisis do not visit the Homelessness Office in Bruckner Street.
Which? has created a free dedicated consumer rights hub to keep people updated with useful information and advice.
This includes cancelled travel arrangements, postponed events and insurance issues; as well as how to spot fake news and scams and managing finances.
Food supplies and price hiking
The Government are confident about food and other supply lines being maintained so there is no need for panic buying (although it is worth mentioning that some extra demand on stores reflects the closures of all the cafés and places where people eat out, school meals etc.)
Some shop owners have behaved badly in hiking prices for scarce items and I have flagged this with the Council’s Trading Standards officers (though be aware they are very stretched.) The Competition and Markets Authority is also warning of action in cases of profiteering.
Here are some useful ways to report incidents:
- Westminster Council Trading Standards – via their Report It app on the website
- National Consumer helpline 0808 223 1133
- Competition and Markets Authority 0203 738 600
Ways to volunteer and to donate
- Volunteer to help locally: register through the Westminster Connects website: westminster.gov.uk/westminster-connects
- North Paddington Foodbank needs donations of food and cash as well as volunteers www.npfoodbank.org.uk/
- Donate to our local NHS – donate to the Imperial Health Charity to help our local hospitals fight the COVID-19 outbreak. Donate here