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COVID-19 Belfast Community Helpline

Updated: Thursday 28 May 2020

We are working closely with community, voluntary and statutory service providers in Belfast to make sure that our residents’ needs can be supported during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have a dedicated helpline to provide advice and support for Belfast City Council residents.

Food parcel distribution

We have been informed by the Department for Communities, who provide the food parcels, that we have reached the limit of our supply. We are unable to accept any new referrals.

If your referral has already been accepted and you are in receipt of a food parcel from us, we will continue to provide this service until 26 June 2020. As we have limited supply to help the most vulnerable, if you no longer require your food parcel, you can telephone the Community Helpline to stop your weekly delivery. We will then be able to provide this food parcel to someone else in need.

If you require a food parcel and meet the criteria, please contact us. We will be in touch with you if the situation changes.

Our Community Helpline also provides information and support for other welfare issues such as:

  • general advice
  • prescription deliveries
  • emotional support

We will be able to signpost or directly refer you to services and sources of support that are available in your local area. You can also contact this service by email: covid19@belfastcity.gov.uk

How to contact the helpline

The helpline is open:

 Monday – Friday  9am - 5pm
 Saturday  10am - 2pm
 Sunday  Closed
 

You can telephone our freephone number 0800 587 4695 or email covid19@belfastcity.gov.uk with the following details:

  • your name
  • address
  • the type of support you need                

Online supermarket delivery slots

If you have been advised by your GP to shield (avoid all face-to-face contact for 12 weeks) because you have a medical condition which makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19), you can register for an online shopping delivery from one of the large supermarkets, ASDA, Iceland, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. These stores will make every effort to offer you an online delivery slot, but it is dependent on demand and cannot be guaranteed.

To register for a priority online food delivery, you must complete an online form on nidirect:

You will be asked to confirm if your GP has advised you to self-isolate. You must provide your name, address, email and confirm you consent to your GP sharing your data for this food delivery initiative.

The Department for Communities will check your eligibility. If you're eligible, they will share your details with the four supermarkets who will contact you directly to advise what delivery slots are available.

Volunteers for help with shopping

There are local volunteer groups that can do grocery shopping for people who cannot access support or help from family, friends or other local networks.

If you are interested in this service, contact the Community Helpline. They can refer you to the Area Support Team who can try and put you in touch with a local volunteer group who can help.

 

 

Food parcels

Criteria

Food parcels are intended for any person who:

  • has received a shielded letter from their GP or those considered vulnerable who have to stay in their homes
    and
  • has no other means of accessing food, through for example their families or friends; and any other means such as online food delivery
    and
  • who aren’t already receiving a regular food parcel or delivery through another means, for example, from a local voluntary and community organisation or from a statutory provider such as the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

The boxes will contain mainly non-perishable goods which will be delivered directly to the door of vulnerable people who meet these criteria.

If you are not eligible for this food parcel, there may be other community or voluntary organisations operating locally that might be able to help in terms of providing food parcels or daily deliveries of warm food. Your local food bank may also be able to help.

Visit our health and wellbeing page for more information on community organisations.

Advice

Our helpline can direct you to organisations that are providing dedicated support and advice for a wide range of issues including health, housing, and volunteering.

Health guidance
Please follow the current public health guidance on the Public Health Agency's website.

The Public Health Agency's coronavirus isolate your household poster has been translated into 11 languages and these translations are available to download at the PHA website.


Housing advice
Visit housingadviceni.org for advice on your housing rights and options.

Volunteering
Look out for family, friends and neighbours who are vulnerable. You can register to volunteer to help organisations that are responding to coronavirus (COVID-19) on Volunteer Now's website.

Information on coronavirus (COVID-19) for Northern Ireland
Visit the nidirect website for advice on coronavirus (COVID-19), including government services which may be affected.

Prescription pick-ups

If you're unable to collect your prescriptions because you are self-isolating, we can put you in contact with people and organisations who will be able to help by collecting your prescriptions for you.

Emotional support

Our helpline advisors can also provide a 'listening ear' for any concerns, and can direct you to other organisations and resources which may help with any anxieties or worries you may have during this difficult time.