This page answers FAQs about Kingston Stronger Together and about more general support available, such as how to stop receiving government food parcels.
You can find more information and support on the main COVID-19 page.
The Kingston Stronger Together Support Hub is being run in partnership between Kingston Council, Kingston Voluntary Action, Volunteering Kingston and other community groups. Together we are helping Kingston residents who cannot leave their home due to COVID-19 and need extra help on top of what friends, family, trusted neighbours and other local services are providing.
People can contact the Kingston Stronger Together support hub for help and the council will also be directly phoning those we know are most vulnerable. You can find out more about volunteering for the hub on our How can I help? page
Who are we helping?
The new support services are mainly aimed at residents of Kingston who cannot leave their homes because of Covid-19 or who are particularly vulnerable to the illness and who don't have support from friends, family or trusted neighbours. We offer self-support advice and information to all residents on Connected Kingston. If you have a medical query you should continue to contact the NHS on 111.nhs.uk or on 111 (in an emergency call 999).
What support is available?
There is a variety of support available through the Kingston Stronger Together Hub, including:
Information and advice on staying fit and well through the current situation
All residents receive information to help them take care of themselves while staying at home. Connected Kingston (our local service offer website) has been updated to include the most relevant information based on the prevailing resident need, including information about wellbeing, housing, food access, finance, employment and bereavement. Read more about how Kingston Stronger Together helps with self care and information.
Support to access food, medicine and other essential items
For those who need supplies to their door, we are able to deliver emergency food parcels and precooked meals; medicine (picking up a
prescription); other essentials such as soap, sanitary and baby products. For those who can afford it, a shopping service is available. Read more on our news pages.
Befriending and mental health support
Residents who are vulnerable to social isolation can be put in touch with volunteers who will check in with them regularly over the phone. Read about volunteer experiences and more on our news pages.
Referral to professional services
This is for people requiring the highest level of support. People who are triaged at this level are referred directly into the Access Team.
How can people access help?
The easiest way to access help is by completing the support form. You can also complete the form over the phone by calling 020 8547 5000. The best time to call is between 9am- 5pm, Monday to Friday. Calls to this number are free if you have inclusive minutes on your landline or mobile tariff, otherwise you will be charged at the standard local rates outlined by your provider.
You can complete the form on behalf of someone you are caring for if they are unable to do this for themselves. The council is also proactively contacting residents that have been identified as more vulnerable to offer them support.
What happens next?
All forms are reviewed by our triage team within 24 hours. The triage team is made up of staff that have been deployed from other council services. They are supported by experienced social care staff and refer people to various support teams based on individual needs and requests.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I stop receiving government food parcels?
If you received an NHS letter and if you have registered as shielding, you may have received a weekly food parcel. This will contain enough food for one adult for one week. If you want to cancel this, do one of the following:
- Refuse the parcel when it is delivered, this will then cancel it and remove you from the government distribution list.
- Go to GOV.UK where you registered as shielded, go to the question 'Do you have a way of getting essential supplies delivered at the moment?'. You previously answered 'no' to this question, please now answer 'yes'. You will then be removed from the government distribution list.
- Call 0800 028 8327 and make sure you have your NHS number (this will be on the top of your NHS letter). This is an automated phone line and you will need to follow the instructions. You will be asked the question 'Do you have a way of getting essential supplies delivered at the moment?'. You previously answered 'no' to this question, please now answer 'yes'. You will then be removed from the government distribution list.
What is the KST Befriending Service?
As part of Kingston Stronger Together Hub, we have launched a befriending service, putting vulnerable residents in touch with volunteers who check in with them regularly over the phone. Matching is based on language preference and other stated interests, as well the skills and background of the buddy.
We have a high number of skilled volunteers who are ready to buddy up with a resident who may require additional emotional support, be feeling lonely or would just like some extra company through a phone call. All volunteers are DBS checked.
How are medicines delivered?
Volunteers can deliver medicine to residents who are:
- isolating for 7-14 days with no friends or family able to assist nearby.
- in a vulnerable group needing prolonged self-isolation
Residents will be linked to a neighbourhood volunteer or an RBK staff member to help them collect their prescription. This is a to-the-door service, and volunteers won’t enter people’s homes or come into direct contact with those with symptoms.
Can you pay for my prescription?
No. If you pay for your prescriptions, then you will need to have paid for your prescription before it is collected. Contact your pharmacy to see how you can pay either over the phone or online.
How do I know if I should be shielding and what does it mean?
If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, or shielding, you’re strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact to protect yourself. However, you are allowed to go outside once a day. This can be with members of your own household or, for those shielding alone, with one person from another household. If you choose to go outside, you should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household and you should follow social distancing guidelines.
The Government is currently advising people to shield until 30 June 2020 and is regularly monitoring this position. You should have received communication from the NHS if you fall into this category. If you are confused or have been given conflicting messages, please contact your GP.
For more FAQ’s about shielding, please go to NHS Inform
What support can I get if I am shielding?
If you are shielding, or self-isolating, you can request help with food and medication delivery through the Kingston Stronger Together Hub. If you are shielding, you may already receive food parcels from the Government.
If you are shielding and require financial support around Council Tax or benefits you can go to Kingston Stronger Together Hub . For general financial support and advice, please go to Connected Kingston or contact Citizens Advice.
Whilst at home, you should remain active, you may go outside in your garden as long as you remain at a 2 metre distance from anyone outside your household. If this is not possible then try to spend time with windows open so that you get some fresh air.
I am no longer shielding, how can I still get help?
If you are receiving food deliveries via the National Shielding Service, these will now be stopped. This will not affect your eligibility for a supermarket priority delivery slot or any slots you already have in place. There are also many local food delivery options which you can find on Connected Kingston. If you are struggling to get food, you are still able to request support with food and medication delivery from Kingston Stronger Together Hub.
If you are no longer shielding and require financial support around Council Tax or benefits you can go to Kingston Stronger Together Hub. For general financial support and advice, please go to Connected Kingston or contact Citizens Advice.