Whilst government advice to shield at home was paused earlier this month, local support is still available for the 55,000 people in Leeds who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus to help them feel and stay safe.
Over the past year, Leeds City Council has offered support to all those advised to shield to help with the range of difficulties that shielding has posed. This has included them helping over 7,000 people to access food safely, being on the end of the phone for over 37,000 support calls, as well as taking the time to listen to clinically extremely vulnerable people about how they are feeling.
As transmission rates of the virus lower and more clinically extremely vulnerable people have taken up the opportunity for vaccination – it was decided nationally that the advice to shield at home could be safely lifted. However, many people remain anxious about the ongoing pandemic, and many more are suffering the physical and mental consequences of spending much of the last year shielding.
Leeds City Council, working with a wide range of local groups across the city are committed to ensuring that the right range of practical and emotional support remains in place for these people.
This includes the offer of buddying up for those anxious about returning to shop in supermarkets or who are worried about getting out and about safely as more of the city opens up.
Specific classes are being put on for those who’ve lost some of their physical confidence and want some expert assistance in regaining their strength.
Peer support and counselling is being made available to those who feel that they need to talk through their experiences of the last year, and financial support and advice is being offered to people whose finances have been impacted by shielding, to support them to get back on track.
A range on informal activities are also being developed by the city’ Community Care Hubs and Neighbourhood Networks. These include photography walks, allotment courses, arts and crafts sessions, digital skills development, tai chi, coffee mornings and much more, all with the aim of allowing clinically vulnerable people ‘covid-safe’ spaces.
Additionally, all Leeds residents are being encouraged to help clinically extremely vulnerable people to feel safe by continuing to follow the rules and practice safe behaviours.
Leeds City Council continues to offer a wide range of support to those clinically extremely vulnerable to the virus, including help with accessing food and medication, getting online and emotional support. For more information, visit our website at: www.leeds.gov.uk/shielding
Anyone concerned or anxious about the changes to shielding can call the Leeds coronavirus helpline at 0113 376 0330 or talk to your GP.
Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health, said:
“Over the past year, we have seen just how kind and compassionate a city Leeds is, with so many residents supporting shielding neighbours, friends and family members. Whether delivering essentials, organising Covid-safe activities to enjoy together or being on the other end of the phone, I hope that this kindness will continue now shielding is paused to help those clinically extremely vulnerable to the virus return to more of community life safely.
“Even with the benefits of vaccination, it is critically important for clinically extremely vulnerable people to avoid coming into contact with the virus, as many suffer from supressed immune systems or other conditions that mean they cannot rely on the vaccine alone.
“The biggest difference we can all continue to make is by giving those we don’t live with as much space as possible, particularly in crowded places, as well as practicing safe behaviours like washing your hands regularly and wearing face coverings indoors.
“We all have a part to play in supporting the clinically extremely vulnerable in our city to be able to move through these changes as best they can. By continuing to follow the rules, we can help everyone feel and stay safe, and continue showing that caring spirit.”