Guidance, support and the answers to the questions residents are asking us most frequently since the CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) outbreak.

Decorative image showing the  brand logo for the Basildon COVID-19 Community Hub
If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, please contact the Basildon Community Hub for further information by either of the following methods:

Email: coronavirusresidents@basildon.gov.uk - (recommended for an early response)

Phone: 01268 533333 (select option 1)

Basildon Community Hub

Basildon Council's Community Hub and its partners support the most vulnerable and isolated residents in our community with food and medication deliveries, hearing aid battery replacement and a befriending service, as well as giving general advice and guidance to borough residents during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Community Hub online vulnerability and at risk self assessment.

If you are a vulnerable or at risk resident of Basildon Borough, or if you know a vulnerable or at risk resident, in need of support during the COVID-19 outbreak, then please complete our online vulnerability and at risk self assessment to find out which Community Hub services are available to help. See:

Please note: If you have the support of family and friends you should continue to seek that support.


If you've been formally notified in a letter from the government that you are at very high risk from infection by coronavirus (COVID-19), you can register to get the support that will help to keep you safe at home.

A food delivery service is available for people who have been classified as very high risk from infection by coronavirus

Register now  - even if you do not need support at this moment in time

You will need your NHS number to register. You can find this on the letter you received telling you that you're at high risk, or on any prescriptions.
 

If you have not received a letter but believe you may be high risk, call your GP to check whether you meet this threshold.

Decorative image showing the  brand logo for the Basildon COVID-19 Community Hub
If you are self-isolating or staying at home due to being vulnerable and are without any support from friends or family who could help you with food shopping or collecting a medical prescription , please contact Basildon Community Hub for support by either of the following methods:

Email: coronavirusresidents@basildon.gov.uk - (recommended for an early response)

Phone: 01268 533333 (select option 1).
 

    Please note: this is a limited service and so we can only provide support to those most in need.
 

Guidance on safe and secure ways to pay a shopping volunteer for your groceries

If you are self-isolating and someone has volunteered to do your food shopping, you should use a safe and secure way to pay the shopping volunteer for your groceries during coronavirus lockdown.

For guidance and advice on the safest and most secure ways to pay a shopping volunteer for your groceries, visit:

Decorative image showing the  brand logo for the Basildon COVID-19 Community Hub
The Basildon Community Hub can offer help with the delivery of replacement hearing aid batteries.

If you usually receive your replacement hearing aid batteries from the hospital, and you are self-isolating or staying at home due to being vulnerable, and you need a replacement hearing aid battery, please contact Basildon Community Hub for support by either of the following methods:

Email: coronavirusresidents@basildon.gov.uk - (recommended for an early response)

Phone: 01268 533333 (select option 1).
 

    Please note: this service is exclusively for those who have an NHS record card for their hearing aid batteries.

Decorative image showing the  brand logo for the Basildon COVID-19 Community Hub
We recognise staying at home for long periods of time can be difficult and can feel lonely at times. Regular conversation with others can make a huge difference to how we feel.

If you or someone you know may be feeling isolated or lonely, Basildon Community Hub have a great befriending team who will provide support to borough residents who are feeling isolated or lonely.

For more information about befriending, please contact Basildon Community Hub  by either of the following methods: :

Email: coronavirusresidents@basildon.gov.uk - (recommended for an early response)

Phone: 01268 533333 (select option 1).

The Essential Living fund is a grant based scheme open to anyone to claim. The scheme covers everything from furniture to day to day living expenses such as groceries, nappies, toiletries, money for pay as you go fuel meters.

For more information or to make an application please visit: Essential Living Fund Applications - Essex County Council Area or:

Phone: 0300 7900124.

 

 

 

 

Full guidance on shops and businesses that must remain closed during the coronavirus lockdown, and exceptions that can stay open, is available on the GOV.UK website under the following headings:

  • Businesses and premises that must remain closed, plus exceptions (businesses and premises that may continue to trade with certain conditions )
  • Work carried out in people's homes, for example by tradespeople
  • Length of closure
  • Compliance - the rules issued by the government in relation to coronavirus

Please visit: GOV.UK - Further businesses and premises to close: guidance

If your child's school is closed and the school catering team are unable to provide meals or food parcels, families of pupils eligible for free school meals need to be offered an alternative. 

Arrangements are being made for schools to order vouchers from a national supplier. These vouchers can then be emailed as e-vouchers to families or posted to families as physical gift cards.

Using these vouchers, families can purchase meals in a local participating shop in lieu of what the school would normally provide.  

It is believed pupils will receive a weekly supermarket voucher totalling £15 to replace their free school meal entitlement.

The school will then be reimbursed by the Department of Education. Further guidance for how schools / establishments will be compensated for additional costs will be provided shortly. 


 

 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has now suspended all face to face interviews. This is for the safety of employees and visitors, in light of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Residents receiving benefits do not need to attend their job centre in person. Those who receive benefits will continue receiving their payments as normal. 

For information on applying to Universal Credit, please visit:  Gov.UK - Apply for Universal Credit.

A response we received from DWP stated:
 'We are seeing an unprecedented volume of intake and are currently redeploying everyone and giving everyone limited training to enable them all to deliver part or all of this Universal Credit process.  We will work with our local contact to address this where possible. The advances are paid by DWP not by the Council, we will still assist with our discretionary rent and council tax payments as normal.'

The DWP are not expecting normal activity during this time, including any eligibility conditions that are monitored. They have suspended all face-to-face intervention, including for new claimants. 

You will need to notify the DWP and the Council for Universal Credit and other benefits. Reducing your working hours, generally, increases your benefits/tax credits support.

From 13th March, if you are self-isolating with symptoms of COVID-19, you are eligible for SSP. 

From 20th March, if you are advised to self-isolate or you are showing symptoms COVID-19, you can obtain an 'isolation note'. Complete an online form from NHS 111, do not go to a doctor. In addition, Jobcentre Plus as reason for not attending events will accept this note.
Residents entitled to SSP will get £94.25 per week if they are too ill to work. Your employer pays this for up to 28 weeks. 

The government has set out a Hardship Fund for local authorities in England, enabling them to reduce council tax bills for 2020 to 2021. This applies to all working age people receiving Council Tax Reduction and does not include residents who only receive a discount or exemption, e.g single persons discount. 

  • If you're in receipt of Council Tax Reduction, you will receive a further reduction of your council tax bill up to a maximum of £150.00.
  • If you're in receipt of a Council Tax Reduction and your council tax liability is less than £150.00, then your liability will be reduced to nil.
  • If you're in receipt of a Council Tax Reduction and your council tax liability is nil, then no reduction will be made.

The majority of Basildon's Council Tax Reduction customers will receive a maximum £150.00 further reduction to their council tax bill.

A one off payment will be automatically credited to your account, there is no need to contact the council. For ALL working age Council Tax Reduction customers we will reduce your council tax accounts and send you a revised council tax bill with a revised instalment payment plan.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with living costs, it is paid monthly and is calculated based on your household and income circumstances. Universal Credit can also help you with your housing costs.

For more information or to make an application please visit GOV.UK - Universal Credit or:

Phone: 0800 328 5644

Textphone: 0800 328 1344.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

If you are unable to work, because you are ill or self-isolating because of the coronavirus you may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay. This currently includes people who are self-employed.

You are not eligible for SSP if you earn less than £118 per week or are self employed. Instead, you are advised to claim for Universal Credit (UC) or 'new style' Employment and Support Allowance. 

For more information on Statutory Sick Pay please visit GOV.UK - Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or:

Phone: 03000 560 630

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is an income related benefit to help people who can claim as state pension there are 2 parts of Pension Credit. Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit, which one you are entitled to depend on your income and savings circumstances.

For more information Pension Credit or to make an application please visit GOV.UK - Pension Credit or:

Phone: 0800 99 1234

Universal Credit

If you have not old enough to claim State Pension Credit, to claim financial assistance with your Housing Costs you need to claim Universal Credit.

For more information or to make an application please visit GOV.UK - Universal Credit or:

Phone: 0800 328 5644

Textphone: 0800 328 1344.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is financial assistance for those on low income to help with their rental charges. It will be administered by Basildon Borough Council, and is paid to people who are old enough to claim a state pension

For more information or to make a claim please visit Apply for housing benefit and/or council tax support or:

 Phone: 01268 533333.

The government has announced that your landlords are not allowed to evict you or take any court action for the next 3 months.

If you rent from the council and would like more information about the rent please visit Housing, rent and homelessness  or:

Phone: 01268 533333.

Further Help for people claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefit but still unable to meet their rental charges

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is additional financial help for people who are in receipt of Housing Benefit or the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit.

For more information or to make an application please visit Apply for Discretionary and/or Exceptional Hardship Payments or:

Phone: 01268 533333.

If financial insecurity caused by COVID-19 has left you unsure on how you can pay council tax, speak to us. We have not been advised by the government to offer council tax holidays, but other help is available.  Including council tax reductions for those who are eligible and alternative payment methods for direct debits. 

For support on any of these schemes, please call 01268 533 333. 


What help may be available?

Council Tax Reduction (CTR)

Council Tax Reduction is a discount for persons of working age who are on a low income or unemployed.  

For more information or to make an application please visit: Information on Council Tax Assistance 

Local Council Tax Support

Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) is available for those on a low income who are old enough to claim a State Pension.  The discount is administered by Basildon Council.

For more information or to make an application please visit: Information on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction 

Discretionary Essential Hardship Payment

Essential Hardship Payment (EHP) is additional help for those who are in receipt CTR but are still unable to meet their Council Tax costs.

For more information or to make an application please visit: Information on Discretionary and / or Exceptional Hardship Payments 

With many people struggling financially it can be concerning about how to repay your debts and ingoing costs. Some options that you may wish to consider are:

  • Asking for a mortgage holiday
  • Speaking to your landlord about your rent
  • Talking to your debtors.

Free independent debt assistance from Citizens Advice

First, Citizens Advice have developed a new digital tool, full of helpful ways to maximise household income, save money and prevent financial problems. The guide has been designed specifically to help anyone living in the south of Essex and is available to download via the link below. 

Icon for pdf Download 'Making Every Penny Count' from Citizens Advice [3.29MB]

For more information from Citizens Advice please visit: Citizens Advice - Help with debt or:

Phone: 03444 111444

Text relay: 03444 111 445

PLEASE NOTE: At the moment Citizens Advice are unable to make face to face interviews because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

If your MOT expires on / before 29 March 2020, your MOT must be booked as usual. 

However, do not attend an MOT if you or a member of your household have coronavirus symptoms or you are in a high risk category.

When you no longer need to self-isolate an MOT will need to be booked - the vehicle must not be driven if the MOT expired before 29 March except to get it to its MOT.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is working with insurers and the police to make sure these individuals are not unfairly penalised for not being able to get an MOT if they are vulnerable or self isolating.

If your MOT expires on / after 30 March 2020, your MOT will be automatically extended for 6 months. 

If vehicle tax runs out while self-isolating

You will need a valid MOT (unless your vehicle is exempt) to renew your vehicle tax.

You should register your vehicle as off the road (SORN) if both:

  • your MOT and vehicle tax are both due to run out
  • you're not able to get your vehicle tested because you're self-isolating

For further information, visit:  GOV.UK - Vehicle owners to be granted MOT exemption in battle against coronavirus

It's important we look out for our family, friends and neighbours, especially if they live alone, are elderly or have pre-existing health conditions.

You may be able to help without having face-to-face contact. You could:

  • pop a note through their door giving them your phone number, if they don't already have it
  • keep in touch by phone or social media
  • help them by doing their food shopping and leaving it on their doorstep
  • pointing them to trusted and reliable information, such as Basildon Council, the NHS Website , or the information from central Government at GOV.UK - Welcome to GOV.UK
  • encourage people to stay active at home where possible.

If you, or a friend or family member feels anxious or worried, there is some helpful information on the Mind website, please visit: MIND - For better mental health.

For more volunteering ideas and downloadable resources on how you can make a difference, see also: Community volunteering and helping others.