For us here at Harrow Mencap, keeping our clients and their families as well-informed and up to date as possible about the coronavirus.

Our main concern is for the health and wellbeing of the people we support. With this in mind, we have set up this page to make sure you are aware of what is going on. 

This page will be updated as the situation progresses.     

Updated on Tuesday 4 August 2020

We have prepared a new video to show clients and families all that we are doing to ensure that we can provide safe, quality support to you and your loved ones:

What the coronavirus (COVID-19) is

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus. There are simple, effective things we can all do to reduce our risk of catching or spreading the virus to other people.

To stop the virus from spreading

Do

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds (please see video below providing further guidance on this).
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work.
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home.

Do not

  • Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

Other important things you should do to stop coronavirus from spreading

What I should do if I or someone in my household feel unwell

  • If one person in any household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days.
  • These people should, if possible, avoid leaving the house "even to buy food or essentials" - but they may leave the house "for exercise and, in that case, at a safe distance from others".

This is a precaution to try to delay the spread of coronavirus.

If your symptoms are mild you don't need to contact the NHS. But if your symptoms are getting worse and you reach a point where you would normally call for medical care, you should ring 111 for help. You can also use the NHS specialist online coronavirus service for advice. 

If you think you might have coronavirus don’t go to your doctor’s surgery, pharmacy or hospital. If you need to speak to someone, call 111.

If you need more information and advice please see these resources

For the government's response to the coronavirus, please click here.

For easy read information and advice on the coronavirus, please click here.

For easy read guides and information sheets for when you are social distancing, please click here.

For our "Active at Home" tutorial video series for clients and their families to enjoy while social distancing, please click here.

For important information and advice about the coronavirus from Harrow Mencap, please check our news page.

For local and national information about the coronavirus from Healthwatch Harrow, please click here.

For information about what local GP surgeries are doing please click here.

For for a webinar about accessing care following new emergency coronavirus legislation, please click here.

If you are worried about money because of the coronavirus and think you may need hardship funding from Harrow Council, please click here.

For coronavirus information in other languages, please click here.

Bereavement advice for families of children with a learning disability, please click here.

For a copy of the government's COVID-19 Action Plan for Adult Social Care, please click here.

For an NHS COVID-19 Grab and Go Learning Disability and Autism form, click here.

For a guide to the NHS COVID-19 Grab and Go Learning Disability and Autism form, click here.

For easy read guidance on how to use Zoom, click here.

For advice on washing your hands well, please see the video below: 

 

Other support that is available

If you would like to be considered for a free hot meal or food parcel to be delivered to you regularly, or are able to volunteer for delivering these meals please call Dipti Singh on 020 3948 0533 or [email protected] for more information.

If you have not yet taken part in our Connecting Communities phone-in events and would like to, please contact Jeremy Child on 07734 955115 or [email protected]. These events are a great opportunity to socialise and enjoy activities such as quizzes, musical performances, and other entertainment.

If you are a carer and you feel isolated or lonely, you may also like to try Virtual Cuppa for supportive chats with other carers, for more please click here.

Government and local guidelines

Currently, the gathering rules are as follows:

The government has made new changes to the lockdown

From 25 July, subject to rates of transmission closer to the time:

  • sports facilities and venues, including such as indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios, indoor swimming pools and indoor water parks, can open

From 24 July:

  • face coverings will be required in shops and supermarkets - in addition to public transport where they are already required. People are also strongly encouraged to wear face coverings in other enclosed public spaces where there are people they do not normally meet

You still should not:

  • socialise indoors in groups of more than two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub.
  • socialise outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than six should only take place if everyone is from exclusively from two households or support bubbles.
  • interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship.
  • hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, besides small wedding celebrations as outlined above.
  • stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household).

Harrow Council has said reports of a Harrow lockdown are not true.

The council has made a statement dispelling rumours of a local lockdown in the borough on their website

The council's Director of Public Health, Carole Furlong said:

We are closely monitoring local and national situation and are in regular contact with both the NHS and Public Health England. Together we are working to do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus.

There is nothing to suggest there is a spike in Harrow. We’ve had fewer than 10 cases a week in June - and as lockdown eases we ask everyone to do their bit to help stop the spread by staying two metres apart, wearing face covering in confined spaces and washing their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.

The government has made new changes to the lockdown

From 4 July, you will be able to:

  • you can meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household - you can meet with different households at different times. However - even inside someone’s home - you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers.
  • when you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines.
  • additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites will be able to open - but we will continue to keep closed certain premises where the risks of transmission may be higher.
  • other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open.
  • stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household.
  • it will be against the law to gather in groups larger than 30 people, except for a limited set of circumstances to be set out in law and unless all members of the group are exclusively from two households.
  • you will be allowed to keep a social distance of 1 metre (with precautions such as a face mask) where it is not possible to keep 2 metres apart, this is called 1 metre +.
  • For an easy read guide about the change from 2 metres to 1 metre +, please click here.

You still cannot:

  • gather indoors in groups of more than two households (your support bubble counts as one household) - this includes when dining out or going to the pub.
  • gather outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than 6 should only take place if everyone is from just two households.
  • interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship.
  • hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing.
  • stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household).

Gatherings of more than 30 people will be prohibited, apart from some limited circumstances to be set out in law.

From 15 June, you will be able to:

  • you will be able to visit any type of shop and some additional outdoor attractions - drive-in cinemas, zoos, and safari parks.
  • year 10 and 12 pupils in secondary schools and further education colleges will begin to receive some face to face support.
  • some people will have to wear a face covering on public transport.
  • some passengers do not have to wear a face covering including:

    • children under 11
    • people with disabilities
    • those with breathing difficulties
    • anyone travelling with someone who relies on lip reading
  • it is still good to wear a face covering on public transport if you can, but if you are exempt you should download an exemption card on this link.
  • If you cannot get download the exemption card, you can call Transport for London on 0343 222 1234 (choosing option 5 and 5), they can send one out for you in the post.

You will still be able to meet outdoors with groups of up to six people from different households, provided social distancing is observed and you stay 2 metres away from anyone outside your household or support bubble.

From 13 June, you will be able to:

  • form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household if you live alone or are a single parent with dependent children - in other words, you are in a household where there is only one adult. All those in a support bubble will be able to act as if they live in the same household - meaning they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and do not need to stay 2 metres apart. Support bubbles should be exclusive - meaning you should not switch the household you are in a bubble with or connect with multiple households.
  • attend your place of worship for the purposes of individual prayer.

You still cannot:

  • visit friends and family inside their homes (unless you are in a support bubble from 13 June) or for other limited circumstances set out in law.
  • stay away from your home or your support bubble household overnight - including holidays - except for in a limited set of circumstances, such as for work purposes.
  • exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool.
  • use an outdoor gym or playground.
  • gather outdoors in a group of more than six (unless exclusively with members of your own household or support bubble).

From Wednesday 3 June, the government has made further changes to the lockdown guidelines.

There are a limited number of things you will be able to do in England that you could not do before:

  • spend time outdoors, including private gardens and other outdoor spaces, in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines.
  • visit car showrooms and outdoor markets.
  • in line with the arrangements made by your school, send your child to school or nursery if they are in early years, reception, year 1 or year 6, if you could not before.

At all times, you should continue to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, particularly ensuring you are two metres away from anyone outside your household.

You cannot:

  • visit friends and family inside their homes.
  • stay overnight away from your own home, except for in a limited set of circumstances, such as for work purposes.
  • exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool.
  • use an outdoor gym or playground.
  • gather outdoors in a group of more than six (excluding members of your own household).

For easy read information on these changes, please click here.

From Wednesday 13 May, the government have made some small changes to the lockdown guidelines.

There are a limited number of things you can now do that you could not do before:

  • Spend time outdoors – for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking, or sunbathing.
  • Meet one other person from a different household outdoors - following social distancing guidelines.
  • Exercise outdoors as often as you wish - following social distancing guidelines.
  • Use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart.
  • Go to a garden centre.

The government says you should still stay at home as much as possible.

The reasons you may leave home include:

  • For work, where you cannot work from home.
  • Going to shops that are permitted to be open - to get things like food and medicine.
  • To exercise or spend time outdoors.
  • Any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.

For easy read information on these changes, please click here.

Government guidelines around the coronavirus have changed for people who have a learning disability or who are on the autistic spectrum. (Tuesday 14 April):

The government have said that people with a learning disability or people on the autistic spectrum are allowed to leave their homes to exercise in an open space two or three times a day during the lockdown for medical or health reasons.

For more information on these changes, please click here.

For easy read information on these changes, please click here.

To help prevent the spread of the virus, the government have said (Tuesday 24 March):

  • You can only leave your home once a day to exercise and go shopping.
  • You should try to go shopping for essentials as little as possible.
  • Non-essential shops such as clothes and electronic shops are now closed.
  • Places like libraries, playgrounds, gyms and places of worship are also closed.
  • Social events like weddings and baptisms are also no longer allowed to happen.
  • Gatherings of more than two people outside your home are banned.
  • When you go out you should stay six feet away from people you do not live with.
  • You should stay at home as much as possible to help the NHS.

For a copy of the government's guidelines in easy read, please click here.   

Social distancing 

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people.

This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus.

These are:

 

  1. Avoiding non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible.
  2. Working from home, where possible.
  3. Avoiding large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs.
  4. Avoiding meeting with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.

 

Particular care to minimise social contact has been recommended for:

  • People over the age of 70.
  • Other adults who would normally be advised to have the flu vaccine (such as those with chronic diseases).
  • Pregnant women.

What we are doing at Harrow Mencap

We are taking advice from trusted sources and reviewing all our activities to make sure we protect people in the best way. 

We are keeping clients, families and our colleagues informed and will continue to do so regularly.

We are reviewing our business continuity arrangements on a daily basis so that we are prepared in case the situation gets worse.

We’ve increased the frequency of our cleaning, paying attention to areas people touch regularly.

More hand sanitisers are available at our services.  We are reminding clients, staff and volunteers how to maintain the highest hygiene standards

We are being extra cautious of clients and staff showing any signs of illness and following the advice from Government to self isolate.

We will be updating this web page on a regular basis.

If you are a client or client family member and you have any concerns, please contact the manager of the service that supports you. 

If you are not a client or client family member please contact us on 020 8869 8484 or [email protected].