How we are supporting vulnerable people

Community Support Hub  

Southampton City Council has launched a Community Support Hub and a dedicated helpline in response to the COVID-19 crisis, to ensure that the most vulnerable people across the city have access to the support they need.

The hub will bring together support from across the city including the NHS, Southampton CCG, Southampton Voluntary Services and other voluntary and faith groups across the city.

Find out more about accessing local support.

Protecting vulnerable adults  

Last updated: 27 March 2020

Read answers to the Adult Care frequently asked questions (FAQs)

We are committed to supporting the most vulnerable in our community during these unprecedented times. We know that critical services still need to available for groups including the elderly, those who need safeguarding and those in receipt of benefit payments.

We have established an adult social care and health co-ordination hub which will be open seven days a week. The hub’s role is to manage activity across the council and its partners.

Adult Care Service Delivery

We have stopped delivering some of our non-critical council services to help prevent the virus from spreading and to protect the safety of residents and our staff. This may also need to apply to some services in adult social care, we are working to ensure that our most vulnerable residents can currently continue to receive the same level of care as they did previously.

Whilst there is a small number of cases of COVID-19 in Southampton, our hospitals are preparing in the eventuality that these numbers increase. They will be discharging patients who do not have critical care needs and we will be working with them to ensure packages of support are available in the community or in residential settings.

Day services

Most private day services are now closed and they are looking at ways they can support those individuals affected. We have seen the number of residents that attend our council run day centres decline, with many attendees already self-isolating and social distancing. We are contacting those that are still attending to ensure packages of care and support are in place for them and will be closing the day centre.

Home care and residential care

The council and NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working together with health care providers to put in place support for the most vulnerable people who live in residential and nursing homes and for vulnerable people who live at home and receive regular care. We are also supporting home care providers to help them continue to provide high quality care.

As part of our risk assessments, we are undertaking calls with our most vulnerable service users to ascertain whether they present with any symptoms of COVID-19 before we undertake any visits.

You will also start to see all carers and health workers in personal protective equipment when they carry out work that brings them into close personal contact with others. This is because the government has issued new guidance to protect those delivering key services and residents.

This PPE includes aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks and potentially eye protection. The PPE equipment must only be used once. After it has been used, it must be stored securely in a safe place in doubled disposable rubbish bags for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin.

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, friends and families have also been asked not to visit those in residential care settings at this time.

Support in the Community for Vulnerable Adults

The council is also working closely with Southampton Voluntary Services (SVS) and NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to co-ordinate a voluntary, community and social enterprise response and direct help to those that most need it.

Southampton Voluntary Services (SVS) have set up a short survey to build a picture of the support available across the city and how we can collectively support these organisations to help our community.

We are keen to ensure groups get the support and guidance they need, and are able to work collaboratively with other local organisations in order to ensure safe practice for vulnerable people and volunteers themselves.

Advice for vulnerable adults who are social distancing or self-isolating

The NHS is writing by Sunday 29 March 2020 to all its patients that are at risk of severe illness from catching the virus, to ask them to stay at home for 12 weeks. If you receive this letter and are not in receipt of adult social care support, information will be provided in the letter about who will be able to help you with your food, shopping and medication.

The best thing you can do now is plan for how you can adapt your daily routine, and that of others in your household, to be able to follow this advice. Some of the ways in which you could prepare include:

  • Talk to your neighbours and family and exchange phone numbers of household contacts
  • Consider and plan for those in your home who are considered vulnerable
  • Create a contact list with phone numbers of neighbours, schools, employer, chemist, NHS 111
  • Set up online shopping accounts if possible

Social distancing can be frustrating, and you may feel low or worried. Try these simple things to stay mentally and physically active:

  • Look for ideas of exercises you can do at home. Join the nation in the mornings to the get your day going with Joe Wicks
  • Try online exercise videos or the NHS website. See some examples of chair based exercises
  • Spend time doing things you enjoy. This could be reading, cooking or listening to the radio or watching TV
  • Try to eat healthily, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly and avoid smoking and alcohol
  • Keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can.
  • Call friends, neighbours or family, or chat face to face via video call.

Domestic abuse

With a steep rise in domestic violence incidents caused by the COVID-19 lockdown, Hampshire County Council has pulled together the latest guidance for people seeking support or protection at a very high risk time.

Supporting children and young people  

Last updated: 23 March 2020

Advice for young people on staying healthy and informed

The coronavirus outbreak can be a confusing or even worrying time for children and young people. If you want to find out more about what’s going on or are feeling anxious, you might find the following advice helpful

  • Stay safe: we all need to stay at home to stay safe and keep others safe. While younger people might be less likely to become severely ill, they can just as easily spread the virus to others.
  • Stay informed: make sure you only follow advice and information from official sources such as the NHS or our webpages
  • Stay healthy: by eating well and exercising. You can still go out to exercise once a day, but you MUST stay by yourself or with other household members ONLY. You must also keep a physical distance of at least two metres from others
  • Look after your mental wellbeing: check out the Every Mind Matters page for tips. Southampton residents also have free use of an app called Think Ninja, which is designed for young people and can be helpful in providing health and emotional wellbeing support in uncertain times, and can be downloaded free from the IOS or Android store.

Care leavers

Our teams are still working remotely and continuing to support our care leavers, although there may be some delay to face-to-face visits and meetings. If you are a care leaver and have any concerns or need help, please be reassured that your personal advisor is contactable by phone and email and will do all they can to provide advice and support to you. If for some reason you cannot get hold of your usual worker you can still call the team telephone number, 023 8091 5350, and a duty worker will get back to you as soon as possible.

Supporting our foster carers  

Last updated: 26 March 2020

Our fostering team is contactable and continuing to support our amazing foster carers during the coronavirus outbreak.

We recognise that this will be a challenging time for our foster carers, which is why we are communicating with them regularly about the help and support available. We are coordinating a peer support network so that foster carers can access help – whether this for practical support for those who need it, or just a friendly chat and some words of advice over the phone from an experienced foster carer. We are also offering to cover certain costs and increasing our fees for some types of foster placement. We will continue to review the situation and listen to our foster carers to see how we can make sure they are getting the support that they need.

It’s also important to emphasise that now – more than ever – we urgently need more foster carers. Our team is working and would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to register their interest online or call 0800 5 19 18 18.

Homeless and rough sleepers 

Despite experiencing some disruption at this time, we are continuing to provide support services to homeless families, including those who need emergency help, in the normal ways. We are still using self-contained temporary accommodation in the city to house families.

We are working with local hotels to increase the number of spaces available to single rough sleepers who are not able to self-isolate. This is in addition to beds in the city’s hostels, which are operating fully at the moment.

Our street outreach work is happening regularly and with the support of health practitioners to encourage those found sleeping rough to access our services. The Homeless Day Centre remains open in the mornings providing food, drinks and washing facilities for rough sleepers.

If you are worried about a rough sleeper here is some further advice about what you can do to support them responsibly. Please call 999 if you see someone who is unwell or distressed. Don't put yourself in danger or approach someone behaving aggressively.

Worried about money 

We appreciate this is a difficult time and people are worried about their finances. We are making regular updates to our information on money, benefits and paying the council during COVID-19. You might also find our information for businesses useful.

How you can help 

If you are interested in how you can help out in Southampton at this time, we will be bringing you more information soon on how you can help. Opportunities include roles for people new to the care industry.