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Information and support on coping during the coronavirus pandemic

At these difficult times we know that many disabled people, and older people who rely on support from others, feel concerned and worried about what will happen to them. Too often news on the media or comments on social media says that it “only affects older people or those with pre-existing conditions”. But for many of us, that’s us! So we at Real have put together information, and other guidance, to help us help each other through this difficult time.

We are really pleased that Tower Hamlets Council have been working with us so collaboratively to help put together the support that many disabled people need, and especially those who use direct payments to employ their own personal assistants/carers. In addition, People Plus (who run the direct payments support service) can also provide additional help and support.

This information will be updated on a weekly basis. If you think there’s anything that we should update, or add, do let us know by emailing Together we can make this the best advice for local disabled people.

Click on the different topics on the menu on the left to access different information. The section on Guidance for people with PAs/carers has a number of subsections to help you manage your legal responsibilities, protecting your PAs and keeping them engaged, and creative ways to use your direct payments to meet additional needs at this point in time. It also includes guidance on obtaining and using PPE (personal protective equipment).

Keep safe everyone.

Updates to the guidance


08 April 2021 – Step 2 out of lockdown: This week the government confirmed England will see more restrictions lifted on the 12th April. This includes the opening of non-essential retail, indoor leisure facilities and libraries. Read more about what you can and can’t do from this date on the government’s website. You can also check out this infographic which shows the different steps of the governments plan using pictures.

08 April 2021 – Test to be offered twice weekly to all in England: The government has announced that everyone in England will be given access to two rapid coronavirus tests a week from Friday 9th April. These kits will be available through:

    • local testing sites
    • collection from nearby PCR test sites
    • participating local pharmacies
    • online home ordering serice.

08 April 2021 – Covid-19 easy-read guides – Real has launched a webpage containing lots of easy read guides relating to different aspects of Covid-19 and your health. Please check out our website and share these important guides with people you think might benefit from them.


01 April 2021 – Shielding to end from 1st April: Clinically extremely vulnerable people in England have been told they no longer need to shield from Thursday 1st April. People on the shielded patient list are advised they can follow national restrictions alongside the rest of the population, but still need to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe from COVID-19. Find out more information on the government website.

01 April 2021 – Roadmap – 29th March: This week further restrictions were lifted as part of the government’s four step roadmap back to ‘normal life’. From the 29th March, outdoor gathering of up to 6 people are allowed, and outdoor sports can take place. Although you can leave your house, the government are asking people to ‘stay local’. Watch this video for more information about what you can and cannot do.

01 April 2021 – Booking your second vaccine: If you booked your first dose through your GP, they will contact you via text or phone call to book you in for your second vaccine around 11 weeks later. If you booked your first dose online through one of the online booking systems, you will be able to book your second vaccine again directly through the national booking system.

01 April 2021 – Vaccination for people on learning disability register: In February, the government made a decision to prioritise people who are on the GP register for learning disabilities for a coronavirus vaccination in England. If you would like more information about the coronavirus vaccine to help you, or the person you support understand their safety and the process of booking a vaccine, check out some of the easy read guides Real has put up on their website.

01 April 2021 – BBC Asian Network address vaccine concerns: BBC Asian Network have produced videos in five languages: Gujarati, Punjabi, Sylheti, Tamil and Urdu to help address any safety concerns around Covid vaccines in the South Asian community. Watch them here.

25 March 2021 – Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective – Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective and give people the best protection against Covid-19. In Tower Hamlets, the AstraZeneca vaccine continues to be used. In response to recent reports around the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency continues to recommend its use.

25 March 2021 – Step 2 out of lockdown – On the 29th Match, England will see more restrictions lifted as part of the government’s four-step roadmap to offer a route back to a more normal life. Read more about what you can and can’t do from this date on the government’s website. You can also check out this infographic which shows the different steps using pictures.

25 March 2021 – National Day of Reflection – This week marked one year since the UK first went into lockdown. Tower Hamlets Council created a special two-minute film to thank everyone in the Borough for helping to keep our borough healthy, safe and supported during the pandemic. Watch the video here

25 March 2021 – Long-term effects of coronavirus (long COVID) – For some people, coronavirus can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes called post-COVID-19 syndrome or “long COVID”. The government has issued some more information about these long term effects on their website. The NHS has also set up a platform called ‘Your COVID Recovery’ WHICH helps you to understand what has happened and what you might expect as part of your recovery. Read more here.

18 March 2021 – Free schools, nurseries and colleges test kitYou can now order free coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow test kits to your home In England. You can use this service four your household, childcare bubble or support bubble if at least one member is: a school, nursery or college pupil, or works in a school, nursery or college. 

18 March 2021 – Somali vaccine webinar Tower Hamlets Council have organised a virtual live Q&A session on Monday 22 March at 7pm for our Somali residents to find out more about the Covid-19 vaccine

18 March 2021 – Ramadan and Covid-19 vaccineTower Hamlets Council have issued guidance on having the Covid-19 vaccine during Ramadan. 

18 March 2021 – Mental health tips for the South Asian communityAsian Network presenters share lockdown mental health tips for the South Asian community with videos in Sylheti / Bengali, Tamil, Urdu, and Gujarati.

11 March 2021 – Register unpaid carers for Covid-19 vaccinationTower Hamlets are reaching out to all unpaid carers who either receive or are eligible for carers allowance, or provide close contact personal care to someone vulnerable to Covid-19 as part of priority group 6 for Covid-19 vaccination. They’re working with their partner Carers Centre Tower Hamlets to register unpaid carers on behalf of NHS England, who will send out invites to anyone who is eligible.

08 March 2021 – Full reopening of schools – Read more about the major changes to the normal school experience in this BBC article. The council website also has the latest information.

05 March 2021 – Easy Read Guide to Your Covid-19 Vaccination produced by Public Health England

05 March 2021 – How The Vaccine Process Works

05 March 2021 – Covid testing info & sites leaflet – Find out where your local testing site is in Tower Hamlets

05 March 2021 – How we will slowly move out of lockdown – An easy read guide outlining the stages out of lockdown


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