Stay connected

It's critical that we all follow government guidance about social distancing and staying at home except for a set of limited reasons to help protect the NHS and save lives.

People are, by nature social creatures, so most of us will find it hard to distance ourselves from family, friends and colleagues. Luckily, technology has made it easier to stay connected with each other. Video chatting through services like Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom and FaceTime can help you stay in touch with your social network and wider circle. If you can't do that, a telephone call is just as good.

The main thing is to stay in regular contact with people who are important to you and make a point of checking in with friends, family and neighbours to find out how they are doing. And it's really important that, as a community, we pay particular attention to others who may be feeling isolated or vulnerable at this time.

Want to connect more with people whether for emotional support or to make new friends? The Hub has listings of online groups, get togethers, activities and community support.

Helpful information

Side by Side is a supportive online community, managed by Mind, where you can be yourself. It's is a safe place to listen, share and be heard.

Clic is a free online community for mental health support, managed by Mental Health UK. You can find self-help resources and have a Quickchat, with more ways to join in being added soon. It's moderated 24 hours a day to create a safe environment.

Connect Helpline offers emotional support to people in Leeds every night 6pm-2am. Connect is open as normal, but is experiencing high demand so a call back cannot be 100% guaranteed every night. Please be patient, they will always do their best to get back to you. Tel: 0808 800 1212 (free phone) or go to www.lslcs.org.uk/connect-helpline for online chat.

British Red Cross: Coronavirus Support Line for anyone who is self-isolating and needs someone to talk to. Chat to a friendly Red Cross volunteer for emotional support, links to local organisations who may be able to help and information and practical advice. The British Red Cross can help you if you'll be without contact for 12 weeks, especially if you're not connected with other organisations or support networks. Call 0808 196 3651 between 10am-6pm, open every day. Calls are free and confidential.

The Silver Line is a free confidential helpline, open 24/7, for older people which offers information, friendship and advice at any time of the day or night. Tel: 0800 470 80 90.

Age UK Leeds are offering over the phone support to elderly individuals to assist them with video calling on WhatsApp, Facebook or Skype. The person must have a landline and have a reasonable basic understanding of how to use a tablet or smartphone. They can have an Android or Apple product and can live anywhere in the Leeds area. To refer someone, book an appointment, or for more details, contact Sarah at digital.champion@ageukleeds.org.uk or 07562 437042.

Supporting Wellbeing Project (SWIFT service) is aimed at older people who are frail or who have complex medical needs and are a high risk of being socially isolated. If you, or someone you know, would like to get connected, please contact Age UK Leeds and ask for the Swift service: Tel: 0113 389 3001, email: swiftcitywide@ageukleeds.org.uk

The Campaign to End Loneliness will be posting ideas to reduce social isolation on their website during the coronavirus outbreak.

Your Space has created a booklet called 5 Ways to Wellbeing for Families, with lots of activities to help us stay well, including being curious and learning more, moving your body, being mindful, kindness and staying connected and supporting each other. It's aimed at families and children, but it's good for adults too!

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