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 19 May 2020

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


  • 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.

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 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 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 guidelines

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].