Home, But Not Alone

Find support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including our emergency phoneline if you need urgent help.

The Home, But Not Alone service, which includes an emergency helpline, was set up in Suffolk during the first nationwide lockdown and the team continue to work hard supporting our communities during the pandemic.  

Please click here to view our emergency helpline information (PDF, 840KB).

If you live in Suffolk and you are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, the Home, But Not Alone helpline is in place to assist you with any questions you may have, or in locating additional support you may need. The phone number has not changed. Support can be accessed again on 0800 876 6926. The phonelines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Visit GOV.UK for more information about the restrictions for clinically extremely vulnerable people.

Reaching out to your family, friends and/or local community to help you during lockdown, if possible, is still encouraged in the first instance.

Support available

NHS volunteer responders

The NHS Volunteer Responder Scheme is in place to support people in England who are clinically extremely vulnerable or needing to self-isolate. The Scheme is in place until at least March 2021. NHS Volunteer Responders can support you with:

  • collecting shopping, medication (if your friends and family cannot collect them for you) or other essential supplies
  • a regular, friendly phone call from volunteers or from other people who are clinically extremely vulnerable or self-isolating
  • transport to medical appointments

Please call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm to arrange support or speak to your health care professional for transport support. Find out more at nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk.

Home, But Not Alone

If you need urgent help and have no other support, call the Home, But Not Alone helpline.

The helpline is primarily available to clinically extremely vulnerable people who:

  • do not have access to support available from friends, family or immediate community
  • are struggling for food, medicines or other essential supplies
  • are feeling lonely and isolated

Call handlers will be able to provide answers to any questions you may have or link you with local groups and shops who are providing support or services to their local communities.

Call the Home, But Not Alone helpline on 0800 876 6926. Calls are answered from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

You can still use the Home, But Not Alone phoneline if you can't hear or speak on the phone. Download the Relay UK app and dial 18001 then 0800 876 6926.

If you don't need urgent help

If you need support but it isn't an emergency, you may be able to find help by using the information below. 

Supermarket deliveries 

If you are already receiving priority access to supermarket delivery slots this will continue, you do not need to do anything further.

Clinically extremely vulnerable people can use a new online service to request priority access to supermarket delivery slots. Someone else can also register on your behalf.

Seven supermarkets in the UK (Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Iceland, Waitrose and Ocado) are continuing to offer priority delivery slots to clinically extremely vulnerable people in need. This service can be found at gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support.

When using this service, you will be asked for your NHS number. The NHS number can be found on any letters sent to you from the NHS, or on your prescription.

Takeaway and delivery services 

You can order takeaway food online with services such as: 

Many local food outlets will also take orders and payment over the phone and deliver to you. You can contact your local café, restaurant, greengrocer or independent store to find out if they offer delivery.

If your friends, family or neighbours are not able to collect your medicine for you, you will be eligible for free medicines delivery from your community pharmacy. Contact your local pharmacy and they will be able to facilitate a delivery for you, free of charge.

The NHS Volunteer Responders Scheme is still offering delivery of medications until December 2020. You can contact the Scheme by calling 0808 196 3646 or by downloading the GoodSAM app.

In an emergency where you do not have access to the above routes, please contact Home, But Not Alone.

Yes, you can ask for a test:

  • for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms

If you have any of these symptoms:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Then you should:

  1. Start isolating (you for 7 days, members of your household for 14 days)
  2. Book a test (Visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119)

See our COVID-19 testing in Suffolk page for more detailed information.

To take your test, you may be able to choose between:

  • driving to a regional testing site
  • driving to a mobile testing unit
  • getting a home test kit

If you are an essential worker or if you live with someone who is an essential worker and you have symptoms of coronavirus you can access priority testing.

Visit the government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested website for full details and to apply for a test. Alternatively, you can call 119 to book a test.

Worried about money

If you’re getting less work or no work because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can:

Rent/mortgage/other bills

In the first instance, speak directly to your landlord, mortgage provider, company, utility company or service provider to talk through the options available to you.

You can find additional support from the Suffolk Advice and Support Service’s helpline. The helpline was launched In October 2020 to help people in Suffolk with information about, or support regarding, debt, benefits, housing or employment.

The phone calls will be answered by handlers from Citizens Advice, Anglia Care Trust and Ipswich Housing Action Group. They will be able to use resources and guidance from many other Suffolk-based organisations, so that the support they provide is tailored towards every caller.

To access this helpline, please call 0800 068 3131. Alternatively, you can phone Home, But Not Alone (0800 876 6926) and select option 3.

For information and guide go to Suffolk Advice and Support Service.

If you're struggling to pay your Council Tax, you can ask for help through your borough or district council: 

You can find your local council on GOV.UK using your postcode.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to businesses from the government, including the following help:

  • Employers may be eligible for financial support
  • Self-employed people may be eligible for a taxable grant covering 55% of trading profits

The Coronavirus Job Retention (furlough) Scheme has also been extended until March 2021.

You can also find local advice to businesses regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).

These services will need to be provided by private companies, whose services may be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government has advised that it is acceptable to work in other people’s homes when necessary to do so – for example, cleaners or tradespeople are permitted to keep working.

You can find companies online using: 

  • our community directory Suffolk InfoLink to search for services such as gardening, cleaning or dog walking
  • Checkatrade to find a local tradesperson such as a plumber, electrician or carpenter 

Home repairs and maintenance by tradespeople are allowed during the current restrictions if:

  • the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms
  • social distancing is followed (remaining two metres apart) 

Work by tradespeople must not be carried out in any household which is isolating unless it's urgent, for example an emergency plumbing repair. 

No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, even if these are mild. 

If the person you care for has no other friends or family to support them, or they cannot care for themselves in the short-term, use webchat to contact adult social care (Customer First).

Suffolk Family Carers support both Adult Carers and Young Carers.

If the person you care for needs urgent help with food or medication, and there is no other support via family, friends or neighbours, call the Home, But Not Alone emergency phoneline 0800 876 6926, available from 9am to 5pm, from Monday to Friday.

You're not alone in Suffolk.

Good mental health is paramount during this difficult time. It is a tool that enables you to cope when things get hard, or when your physical health suffers in any way, for any reason. Staying connected with friends and family – even when it’s perhaps through a screen – is really important for nurturing good mental health.

If you do not have support from friends, family or neighbours, call our Home, But Not Alone helpline on 0800 8766 926. Calls are answered from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. We can put you in touch with local volunteers, community groups and organisations in your area.

If you are in crisis, FirstResponse 0808 196 3494 is a phone number available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provides immediate advice, support and signposting for people with mental health difficulties. Please call if you are experiencing something that makes you feel unsafe, distressed or worried about your mental health.

If you don't have support available from friends, family or neighbours, call the Home, But Not Alone phoneline 0800 8766 926. It's available 9am to 5pm, from Monday to Friday. We can put you in touch with local volunteers and community groups in your area.

If you have to stay at home due to coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be feeling bored, anxious or lonely. Depending on your personal circumstances, there are also other issues to consider from finances to childcare. It’s so important to understand how you are feeling, to look after yourself as well as others. You need to make time for your mental health and wellbeing.

The good news is that there are plenty of easy, free and meaningful things we can do to increase our wellbeing at home. There are lots of resources out there to help you. Find out how to look after yourself, for example ways to keep active, how to manage anxiety or sleep well at home.

Find out more

If you did not receive a letter to confirm your status as a clinically extremely vulnerable person, but you believe you should have, speak to your GP. You can find your GP on the NHS.UK website using your postcode.

If you have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to a medical condition, you can register for additional support. You can register yourself, or on behalf of someone else.

In accordance with government guidelines about working from home, essential travel and social distancing, councils may have adapted the way they offer some services. Please check your local council’s website and social media for the latest updates regarding service changes.

For the latest changes, visit the dedicated COVID-19 pages on your local council’s website:

Other useful links and numbers

  • Visit suffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus for local information on health, schools, business and service changes
  • National domestic violence 24-hour helpline: 0808 200 0247
  • Mental health helpline, called First Response, run by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust: 0808 196 3494
  • For any police matters please visit suffolk.police.uk