We have put together the following information, which we think you will find useful during the coronavirus pandemic. (This page was last updated 28.09.2020)
The information on this page and associated pages is regularly updated. Please do get in touch if you would like any further information or help. We appreciate this information does not replace seeing us face to face; if you need someone to talk to, we're here 0300 303 3691 or SMS 07856 426 940. We are also available on webchat via our Facebook page.
Your Questions Answered:
- Keeping up to date - From the 22nd September the government made changes to the rules and guidelines as the Covid - 19 alert level rose to 4.
You can read these changes to restrictions and guidelines HERE and the governments recovery plan here. What you can and can't do is regularly updated here. Although some people are returning to work and heading outside more, others are choosing to 'shield' and stay at home. If you do go out, please remember to make sure you observe social distancing and good hand hygiene and wear a face covering when in enclosed areas (excemptions apply, please see below).
- I don’t have to stay at home anymore?
You don’t have to stay at home anymore and some people are returning to work and heading outside more, whilst others are choosing to 'shield' and stay at home. If you do leave your home you should follow the guidelines on staying safe outside your home.
The NHS has advised that people with an underlying health condition (that puts them at very high risk of severe illness if they catch coronavirus) who have been 'shielding' are now able to spend time outdoors, whilst continuing to follow social distancing guidelines. From the 1st August people in England who are at high risk from the coronavirus will no longer be advised to shield.
Shops, leisure centres, communal outdoor open spaces, such as visitor attractions and parklands are begining to reopen. However in some places facilities are limited, often the toilets are shut, or access needs and requirements for disabled people are not met. Please make sure you contact a place you wish to visit prior to going out to ensure your requirements are provided.
- Should I wear a face covering?
The government has said that we should wear a face covering when in an enclosed space where social distancing is not possible. From the 24th July in England, people will have to wear a facemask in shops and supermarkets and from the 22nd September in all enclosed areas. The same fines and exemptions will be in place as they are with public transport. It's important to remember that face coverings do not replace social distancing or self-isolation. They shouldn't be used either by children under the age of eleven or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. The government has published information about how to wear and make face coverings on their website.
FACE MASK EXEMPTIONS: From 15 June 2020, new regulations mean passengers must wear a face covering when travelling on public transport. From the 24th July in England, people will have to wear a facemask in shops and supermarkets. The requirement to wear a face mask on public transport, in shops and supermarkets does not apply where a person has a reasonable excuse, which includes where someone cannot put on, wear, or remove a face covering: without severe distress or because of any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability (within the meaning of section 6 of the Equality Act 2010) or where they are travelling with, or providing assistance to, another person who relies on lip reading to communicate. Read the exemptions.
- There's so many different messages about the Coronavirus, I don't know which one to read?
For up to date, factual information, visit GOV.UK or the NHS website. For local facts on the coronavirus we suggest reading the information on your local council website: Devon County Council, Cornwall Council, Somerset County Council and Dorset Council . You could also use the GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp. This automated chatbot covers the most common questions about coronavirus. Citizens Advice are also a good source of practical support and information.
- Where is the information in BSL (British Sign Language)?
We provide additonal support for the Deaf community through our Deaf Led Services and every Tuesday and Thursday 11am - 1pm Mark from our Deaf Get Active team is available to chat about keeping active and keeping moving. Want to talk? Got questions? join the chat to get started.
- Is the Coronavirus information available in an alternative format like large print or easy read guide?
Easy Read from Learning Disability Devon If you need information in another language or format please contact email@example.com, phone 0345 155 1015 or SMS text ‘Devon’ then your message to 80011. Somerset County Council coronavirus helpline 0300 790 6275, or if you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired you can contact them using SMS text: 07781 482858. Cornwall County Council email DIAL Cornwall for advice for disabled people, carers and families or call 01736 759500. Dorset Council call 01305 221000 for help and advice or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Should I get myself tested for the Coronavirus?
If you think you have symptoms of Covid-19, you need to get tested to help stop the spread of the virus. Full details about testing are on the government website. People who do not have internet access and think they should be tested can ring 119.
- I'm feeling anxious about the Coronavirus, I feel isolated and at times lonely!
Please call us if you feel anxious, isolated or would just like to hear someone's voice or make contact with someone, we are here 0300 303 3691 or SMS 07856 426 940. Alternatively you can contact your county councils using the information in bullet point 3.
Every Mind Matters have produced 10 simple tips to maintain your mental wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak, this includes help with staying connected with people, talking about your worries and looking after your body and mind, find out more here.
Our partners Age UK Devon have useful tips and advice to combat loneliness and feelings of anxiety here.
- How can I stay active and postive in doors?
Our Deaf Get Active team are sharing a range of activities you can do at home, you do not have to be Deaf or a wheelchair user to enjoy and take part in these activities. To access these visit the Deaf Get Active facebook page.
Our partners Active Devon are also signposting to some great activities for you to try out at home, these include stretching and improving mobility, British Heart Foundations 10 minute workout and dance alongs. Access the information on the Active Devon Website.
Our Countryside Mobility Team are releasing a regular radio show, known as a 'podcast', that you can listen to whenever is convinent to you. The 'Inside Out' radio show or podcast, brings the outside to you, with interesting interviews and sound bites from the great outdoors, listen here. They are also sharing their favourite video's of 'all-terrian' mobility hire sites, such as Seaton Wetlands, Brean Down and National Trust Trengwainton Garden, these are lovely to watch and really transport you visually to the outdoors.
We are always sharing interesting, uplifiting and topical information for open discussion and comment on our Devon Disability Network Facebook page, why not visit the page, give us a like and read up on our latest posts, which range from day to day issues, raising awareness and remaining postive during isolation. We'd love to hear from you!
- I'm struggling to get use to technology, I want to keep in touch with friends and family online?
Our friends at AbilityNet help people of any age and with any disability to use technology to achieve their goals at home, at work and in education, why not get in touch with them, call 0800 269 545 or email email@example.com
Our friends at CoLab Exeter are also running free courses on staying connected, more information here.
- I've heard that crime and violence might be on the increase due to the coronavirus?
The outbreak of the coronavirus has seen an increase in scams and doorstep traders who are trying to exploit fear and uncertainty. They often target elderly and vulnerable people and usually imitate Benefit or Government emails. Please keep safe, always ask for a persons ID if you are unsure and don't open links and attachments from unknown emails.
Isolation may increase domestic abuse, violence and crime, please be assured there is help available, our Victim Support team work closely with Victim Care Devon and Cornwall to provide victim support services to disabled and Deaf communities across Devon. We offer support for both reported and non-reported crimes, helping the victim to overcome the affects caused by a crime. Our volunteers are trained to give emotional support, information, practical help (including in British Sign Language) to people that have been affected by a crime. This is a free and confidential service call us on 01392 459222 or SMS text 07734 768910 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Living Options Devon is a well respected user-led organisation which works to ensure that people with disabilities and Deaf people can live the life they choose. Set up in 1990 LOD is a registered charity (Charity N0. 1102489) and a company limited by guarantee (No. 4925281). Based in Exeter and Barnstaple, our charitable aims mean we we can offer services across the South West and share good practice throughout the UK. Being led and run by people with disabilities and Deaf people ensures LOD has first hand knowledge and understanding of the issues facing service users and so is very well placed to increase the influence and voice of Deaf and disabled people. We do this by providing education, training and services which enable people to live the lives they choose.
We are happy to provide all information about Living Options Devon and its projects in alternative formats by request. Please contact us using the details above.
There are a number of ways you can contact us:
By telephone: 01392 459222
By email: email@example.com
By SMS: 07856 426940
By post: Living Options Devon, Ground Floor Units 3-4, Cranmere Court, Lustleigh Close, Matford Business Park, Exeter EX2 8PW