Signposting - Health & wellbeing - Coronavirus

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Section: Signposting

Subsection: Signposting - Health & wellbeing

Coronavirus - Information and Changes to Services

On this page you will find the links to national information and guidance on coronavirus and also advice and updates from local services who are having to work in a different way with children and families. The following is the information we have received this week. Previous weekly updates can be found here



You may also want to take a look at Wiltshire Council's dedicated Coronavirus page on its website [HERE], which will be kept updated with information about Council services that may be affected by COVID-19.

Benefits Information – Coronavirus

The Department for Work and Pensions has a dedicated website with information regarding the coronavirus and benefits which it is updating daily: please [DWP website].

The website provides information about coronavirus and claiming benefits. Please check this page regularly for updates on the arrangements the Department for Work and Pensions is making to support those who are affected by coronavirus. Currently on the website, there is information about changes to Statutory Sick Pay, changes to Jobcentre appointments, changes to health and disability-related benefits’ assessments, and making a new claim.

New Information - Coronavirus Information for Families with Children and Young People with SEND

The WPCC is working hard to maintain and update information on its website to provide as much support and information as possible for parent carers of children and young people with SEND, and those who work to support them. We established dedicated coronavirus/COVID-19 pages on our website a couple of weeks ago to try to make it easier to access specific COVID-19 advice, information, guidance, support and resources. You will see on the front page of our website, we have links to our [COVID-19 Learning Resources and Activities], [Coronavirus Changes to Events, Courses & Activities], [Coronavirus Information and Changes to Services], and our [WPCC Service Update Messages]; these are all changing and updating on a daily basis, thanks to the hard work of the WPCC team.

Many other organisations are also posting and sharing information as we all try our best to provide as much information and support as we can. Like the WPCC, Contact has set up a dedicated section on its website with information for families with disabled children. On their website, you will find information including: -

  • General up to date coronavirus advice
  • Health tips and information about measures to support children with complex health needs
  • Information about categories of children who can still attend school if they choose to
  • Guidance on isolation for residential settings
  • Welfare benefits and money, including answers to some common questions
  • Information about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Other changes to the benefits system
  • An explanation of the Coronavirus Bill
  • Tips for coping at home, looking after yourself and dealing with anxiety


Other resources including: -
[BBC Newsround]: helpful information for children about the coronavirus, including explainer videos. They also have a 'happy news' section to brighten the day
[Childline] has a 'calm zone', with videos, activities, games, and calming activities to help children who are worried about anything
[Calibre Audio Library]: UK charity that lends audio books and streams books online for anyone who struggles to access print, including children.
[Living Paintings (UK)]: Free postal library supporting blind and partially sighted adults, children and young people. They make tactile versions of pictures that come to life when fingers feel them.
[BBC CBeebies for special needs]: Resources and help for children with additional needs from the BBC, including Mr Tumble!
[ITV Signed Stories]: Signed Stories help improve the literacy of deaf children from infancy upwards. The website also provides useful advice and guidance for parents, carers and teachers of deaf children, and for the deaf parents of hearing children.
Twinkl has lots resources and ideas to stimulate and entertain children of primary school age. And the [Twinkl SEND resources] are worth checking out for fun stuff to do at home.
[Singing Hands on YouTube] has videos of songs signed in Makaton. And they will be doing live sessions on YouTube at 10.30am.
Bumble bee physio London are doing live physio for children who are wheelchair users at 10am on their [Facebook page].
[David Walliams] is releasing a free audio story every day for 30 days!
[Storyline Online], streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children's books alongside creative illustrations.
If your children are into animals and the natural world, [National Geographic Kids] on You Tube has lots of fantastic, interactive videos.
[Khan Academy Kids] is an educational app for children aged two to seven. Animated characters guide children through educational materials. It's an American app but lots of relevant activities.
And here is an [article with tips for games and activities] to do with children with special educational needs, that are not screen based - many of them indoors.

Also Contact’s [website] provides advice and information for families of children and young people with additional needs or a disability. This includes a [Common Questions Tool]; [benefits calculator], [grants finder]; and a [Live Chat service]. Contact also has a free helpline 0808 808 3555 (open between 9.30am-5pm Monday to Friday) or you can email the helpline on helpline@contact.org.uk.

WPCC Positive Message Board

We appreciate this an anxious time for us all and while we recommend keeping up to date with the information, advice and guidance, it can make us more uneasy. We are setting up a Positive Message Board on the WPCC website and we are encouraging parent carers to email in positive messages of support and tips etc. to support and encourage each other. We will only post messages that are positive and supportive towards others and we ask that submissions are limited to 200 words maximum. You don’t have to write a lot, you might just have a couple of words that sum up something that made you smile, or a tip that you would like to share, or you might just have a photo or an image of something that you think might be uplifting for others to see.

We will post a new message board each week to give you something new to look out for, and hopefully make you smile a little during these challenging times.

Please remember, by sending submissions for our Message Board, you will be consenting to us posting on the WPCC website for anyone to see.

Please send anything you wish to share on our Message Board to admin@wiltspcc.co.uk with the Subject: For WPCC Message Board.

Supporting Parent Carers – a Message from Wiltshire Police

In these uncertain times, caring for vulnerable children and young people will be very challenging.

Police anticipate that there may be an increase in children and young people reported missing whilst we battle with the COVID-19 virus and the restrictions we are living with. We need to ensure that children and young people are reported appropriately and we are not unintentionally criminalising children or bringing them unnecessarily into contact with Police. There are many reports that demonstrate this can cause significant harm and can damage the child’s relationships with the professionals around them.

There remains an expectation that parents and carers, including staff acting in a parenting role in care homes, undertake reasonable actions to try and establish the whereabouts of the child, before reporting to Police. This may include: -

  • Contacting the young person’s phone
  • Contacting family members where appropriate
  • Contacting friends that the young person may be with
  • Visiting the locations where they may be
  • Talk to other children in the care setting or home to ascertain whether there are any previously unknown risks and disclosures


We accept that children at risk of exploitation will do the things other children do and go out to associate with their friends in breach of parental direction in the same way other children do. Many children who are told they cannot leave home because of current COVID-19 restrictions, will get bored, frustrated and go out without permission. We hope that this will be dealt with as a carer/parental issue rather than a missing person report, unless there is some trigger incident, such as they were seen to get into a car, or were extremely active on their mobile phones before leaving which are possible indicators of them planning to meet exploiters.

Carers and Parents may be concerned that the instructions set out by The Prime Minister may be breached if a carer goes out to try to locate a child or young person, as they would have done before. If a parent or carer was to go out to locate the child or young person then it would for the reason of “Medical needs or care for a vulnerable person is appropriate” giving them a justifiable reason for being out of the house.

If there are immediate concerns about the child’s wellbeing or safety they should be reported missing immediately to the police.

Any recent changes in the behaviour of the child, or previous missing incidents should be taken into account when deciding whether there is an immediate risk.

Warning signs might include: -

  • Frantic phone activity before leaving
  • Sharing concerning information on social media or with other children in the care setting
  • Preparations to stay away for a long period of time (packing clothes, taking personal items)
  • Turning their phone off as soon as they leave
  • Talking about self-harm or suicide
  • Recent changes in behaviour
  • Withdrawing socially or expressing hopelessness
  • This list is not exhaustive.


Further advice and guidance is available from the Missing People helpline on 116000 if carers and parents want to talk through their concerns and next steps before contacting the Police.

Wiltshire Council Directory of Community Volunteer Groups

Wiltshire Council has published a directory of community volunteer groups that have been set up throughout the county, in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

Click [HERE] to find out more and download the directory.

Coronavirus Symptom Checker

NHS 111 Online has created an online symptom checker which you can use if you are worried you might have coronavirus symptoms: [SYMPTOM CHECKER]

Bus Passes

To support older and vulnerable residents in our communities during this time, Wiltshire Council has removed restrictions so that all bus pass holders can use their bus passes before 9:30am.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wiltshire Council has a FAQ page on their website to answer some of the frequently asked Coronavirus related questions to do with key workers, childminders, schools and education which can be found here: [FAQ]

Keeping Your Child Safe Online

Many of us will be turning to the web for things to do and social contact during this period of social isolation, and so will many of our children and young people. Wiltshire Police have produced a list of [online resources] that provide information, advice and support to help us try to keep our children and young people safe when online.

GOV.UK launch Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

The UK Government have launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp.

The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), and will further reduce the burden on NHS services.

This will help combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation in the UK, as well as helping ensure people stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow the British public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government.

The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting.

The service will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users if required.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

A set of menu options is then presented which the user can choose from and then be sent relevant guidance from GOV.UK pages as well as links to GOV.UK for further information.

Prof Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director, Public Health England, yesterday said:

This service will help us ensure the public has a trusted source for the right information about coronavirus, updated with the latest public health guidance and providing assurance that they are not misled by any of the false information circulating.
Matt Idema, Chief Operating Officer, WhatsApp, yesterday said:

"At difficult times like these, people are using WhatsApp more than ever to connect with and support their friends, family and communities. We are pleased to be able to provide the UK Government with the communications tools to help them answer the public’s questions about the virus with reliable, timely health advice, in order to keep people safe."