Message from Camden Council

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16 April 2020

GG

I know that this is a worrying time for many people – particularly if you’ve lost a job or seen your income reduce as a result of coronavirus. We are determined to do everything we can to help as part of our already substantial package of financial support. This will include a further reduction in council tax for over 6,600 low-income households through our Council Tax Support scheme and the option to apply for a one-off payment through our Local Welfare Assistance Scheme. You can find more information about this and additional financial support below.

I also want to say a massive thank you to the part you played in staying at home over the bank holiday weekend – particularly those of you who don’t have much space. Whether you live in a shared house with lots of other people, had to celebrate Easter, Passover or Vaisakhi without loved ones or have small children to keep entertained, we know it’s hard to stay indoors. The efforts we are making together are saving lives and allowing the NHS to help those that need it so please do keep following advice and only go out to buy essential food and medicine or to exercise once a day, keeping 2 metres from those not living with you.

However, we know that some people sadly won’t feel safe staying at home. If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or feel at risk of it, help is available. Please see below for more information but most importantly, get in touch for help.

Lastly, if you’re experiencing any of the issues mentioned in today’s newsletter or you’re worried about someone who might be, please get in touch with us so that we can help.

Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council


We are here for you

We’re currently living through an unprecedented situation that will affect us all in different ways. Whether you’re struggling with your finances because your income has stopped or dropped, you can’t get out of the house to buy food, you’re feeling lonely, or perhaps you’ve lost a loved one, there’s a range of support available to you. This includes:

  1. Information and advice to access financial support for residents, workers and businesses
  2. Accessing bereavement support if you’ve lost a friend, partner or family member
  3. An online tool to help you find local volunteer groups and other services who can help you cope if you can’t leave the house because of coronavirus
  4. An update on services like our schools, care homes, recycling and rubbish collections, parking and more

Accessing our services

To stay updated or find out more information on a variety of issues, you can:


Financial support if you’re facing coronavirus hardship

We’ve increased financial support for residents who need it, so if you are struggling with your finances as a result of coronavirus, you can get help. Here’s information, advice and tips to help:

  1. If you’re facing immediate financial hardship – e.g. you have no savings or money in your account – apply for a one-off payment through our Local Welfare Assistance Fund online or by calling 020 7974 4444 (option 9). Please call us if you have any problems accessing the form
  2. If you receive Council Tax Support and have something left to pay, we’re giving you additional support to pay council tax. For some people, this will mean a 3-month break from paying council tax. For others, it will mean paying nothing at all this financial year. Look out for a letter and revised council tax bill from us which will explain the changes
  3. If you’re worried about losing your home and you’re a council tenant, talk to your neighbourhood housing team who will try to help you through this difficult time. However, no council tenant will be evicted for not paying their rent due to coronavirus. If you rent through a private landlord, you cannot be evicted at this time. Read more at gov.uk.
  4. If you’re receiving benefits, it’s really important that you tell both us and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) about any changes to your income so that we can adjust the amount you’re entitled to. You can do this by emailing benefits@camden.gov.uk or by filling in a ‘change in circumstances’ form
  5. If you’re not receiving benefits but your income has stopped or dropped, you might be eligible for Council Tax Support, Universal Credit and contributions-based benefits like Job Seekers’ Allowance or Employment Support Allowance. Read more and find out how to apply at camden.gov.uk/coronavirus.
  6. If you’re struggling to keep up with payments on existing debts like a loan, credit card, overdraft or mortgage, speak to your bank to apply for a 3-month payment holiday

Are you or someone you know a victim of domestic abuse? Help is available

Unfortunately, home isn’t a safe place for everyone. For residents who are experiencing or feel at-risk of domestic abuse, the order to stay at home might make you feel scared or anxious. If this is you or someone you know, please know that there is help and support available. Here are some tips to help.

  • If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. If you can’t talk and you’re calling from a mobile, wait for the prompts and press 55 which will transfer your call to the police. Read more about how this works at gov.uk
  • If you are experiencing domestic abuse or feel at risk, contact Camden Safety Net:
  • Additional organisations that offer help, support and refuge services are listed on our website
  • If you click on any of the above links or access information online, you might want to consider using ‘private browsing’ to cover your tracks. Read more advice on this topic on the Women’s Aid website

Latest public health advice

  • If you’re worried about your health or have coronavirus symptoms, call NHS 111 or check the NHS website
  • If you have symptoms, you must stay at home for 7 days
  • If you live with others who have symptoms, you’ll need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms
  • Please remember to continue to practise social distancing. This means whenever you’re outside, make sure there is always 2 metres between you and anyone else
  • To read the latest public health advice, visit nhs.uk/coronavirus

Looking after your mental health

Many people are feeling overwhelmed, anxious and scared at the moment and while that’s totally normal, you might need a helping hand to deal with the way you’re feeling. We know there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to helping you through the coming weeks and months but we’ve compiled a list of services and tips aimed at helping people in different situations. We hope it helps.

Mental health services:

  1. If you or someone you know is at crisis point, phone the 24/7 crisis line at the Crisis Assessment Centre at St Pancras Hospital on 020 3317 6333 to access specialist support
  2. If you’ve got a pre-existing mental health condition that’s getting worse or you think you might be developing one, call your GP or refer yourself to iCope
  3. Camden Rise has useful resources to help young people stay connected, healthy and safe
  4. Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service for anyone feeling anxious, worried, isolated, lonely or for anyone needing support. Text Shout to 85258 to start a conversation – it is a free service.

Tips to boost your mental health

  1. f you’re feeling lonely, try and stay in touch with loved ones by setting up a regular call or better still, use an app like FaceTime so you can see each other
  2. If you don’t have a support network around you, we’ve developed an online tool to help you find local volunteer groups and other services who can help you cope with lots of different issues
  3. We know that many people are pushed for space but try and stay active by doing workouts at home. From adrenaline-filled HIIT workouts to calm-inducing yoga, there are plenty of free workouts available on YouTube
  4. Listen to your body. If you’re feeling tired, try and get more sleep. If certain activities – like checking social media – make you feel more anxious, try to reduce them

Access coronavirus advice in other languages

We want to make sure that as many residents as possible can access coronavirus advice. If you or someone you know speaks a language other than English, Doctors of the World have partnered with the British Red Cross to translate NHS advice into 44 languages


Thank you!

On Tuesday we tweeted to ask people to share their stories of kindness to celebrate the amazing things people are doing to help each other through coronavirus. Here are some of the responses:

@LifeInKilburn wanted to say thank you to nearly 50 volunteers who are helping vulnerable people in Kilburn as part of their buddy-up system. They also wanted to pay special tribute to Robert who’s tracked down hard-to-find essentials and collected prescriptions from local residents

@margphilips wanted to say a big thanks to Joshua for picking up essentials from the chemist and thank you to Ariana for collecting newspapers for the past fortnight

@willow_nash got in touch to tell us how neighbours on Little Green Street, College Lane and Wiblin Mews are sharing shopping trips and generally looking out for each other

@babyloniaStatez wanted to say thank you to his neighbour Shah for collecting food for his local food bank

Whether someone has taken your dog for a walk or left a box of chocolates on your doorstep to cheer you up, we want to hear about it so please tell us who you want to say thank you to. You can either email us via camdentalking@camden.gov.uk or you can reply to this tweet


And finally…

We want to make sure this newsletter works for you so please let us know if there’s anything you would particularly like to read about or be kept updated on by emailing us – camdentalking@camden.gov.uk


Please note that this is a supplementary email to the tenant and leaseholder updates you receive from us.

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