Coronavirus

If you are worried about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it will impact you and your family, we are here.

Talk to us

Our helpline and wellbeing services are open as usual and our team are on hand to take your calls. You can contact us in the following ways:

Tel: 0800 132320
Text: 07950 008870
Text relay: 18001 then 0800 132320
Facetime: helpline.dbuk@deafblind.org.uk (Not BSL)
BSL video relay: Please click here

We can give you some practical help about how to look after yourself and stay safe, as well as emotional support if you find yourself more isolated than usual. If you would like some more regular contact from us during this period, please let us know.

What should you do?

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
  • Wear a face covering on public transport (see section below on face coverings)

Visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus for more information.

To access information about NHS Track and Trace in a variety of formats, please click here.

If you live in Wales and you are shielding, please click here for updated information.

What to do if you feel unwell

If you or anyone in your household has a new, persistent cough or a temperature then you and your household are advised to stay at home for 14 days. You can find more information about this here. 

Coronavirus support if you are extremely vulnerable

If you have a medical condition that makes you extremely vulnerable to Coronavirus then we can register you for Government support for things like grocery and medicine deliveries. Click here for more information, or contact us on the details above.

Information about how you can access help from an NHS volunteer responder is available here.

Face coverings

It is now mandatory that face coverings are worn on public transport. There are some exceptions to this rule, which you can read by clicking here. These exceptions include:

  • if you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate

Lockdown life hacks

How do you stop your glasses steaming up when your wearing a face mask? How can you make face masks comfortable if you also wear hearing aids? Read our Lockdown Life Hacks for answers to many practical problems.

Shopping and groceries

If you are unable to get out and about, we can put you in touch with local community groups that can bring your groceries and medicine to you. Please contact us on the details above to find out more.

Many supermarkets are now offering priority shopping times for people who are elderly or vulnerable. These are:

Sainsbury's: First hour of opening every day.
Tesco (excluding 'Express' stores): Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 09.00 - 10.00.
Asda: Fridays, from opening until 09.00
Marks and Spencer: Mondays and Thursdays for the first hour of opening.
Iceland: First hour of opening every day.
Morrisons: Monday - Saturday, 09.00 - 10.00 or call 0345 611 6111 option 5.
Waitrose: First hour of opening every day.

Supermarkets are making the following adjustments to increase accessibility:

Tesco:

Tesco are at the final stage of creating a briefing document that will go out to all stores. This will detail how they can support customers who have a disability, which includes the best practice guidance information RNIB has given them. Additionally, they will address challenges such as aisle flow and social distancing with a reminder that some customers may need to bring someone with them to support them.

Tape is being sent to all stores to ensure that the Perspex screen openings and ends can be seen easily.

They are now asking that anyone who feels they require a vulnerable slot and cannot get access to food to call their helpline to discuss possible solutions.

Sainsbury’s:

Sainsbury's have incorporated RNIB’s ‘Best Store Practice Guidelines’ into their customer service policies.

RNIB are in weekly conversations with Sainsbury’s who are committed to assisting where possible to provide help for the blind and partially sighted community.

Waitrose:

Waitrose have now re-worded their in-store statements, ensuring customers with disabilities, visible or non-visible are included in the elderly/vulnerable hour, guide dogs and assistance dogs must continue to be allowed access to their shops as are people who are escorting blind or partially sighted people.

Asda:

Asda have agreed to circulate RNIB’s ‘Best Store Practice Guidelines’ to all store colleagues.

Lidl:

Lidl have reviewed RNIB’s ‘Store Best Practice Guidelines’ and have communicated the key points to all store colleagues.

They will commit to offer assistance in their shops to everyone who needs it.

Further services available include:

Tesco Priority deliveries: Call 0800 917 7359 to access this service. You will be asked to confirm your customer details, asked questions about whether you have any other support with shopping, and whether you qualify for the list. After 48 hours priority slots should appear.

Wiltshire Farm Foods: Call 0800 077 3100 for information.

Morrison’s Help Hub: Call 0345 611 6111 and select option 5. More information is also available here.

Aldi: Essential boxes now available. Find out more here.

Asda: Help for most vulnerable is available here. Asda also offer a volunteer shopping card. This is a cashless way for people to help get your shopping in. You can sign up here.

Sainsbury’s: A new volunteer gift card and online voucher scheme has just been launched to help people shop in store for you. Click here for more details.

Hygiene

If you or someone you know communicates by tactile methods (Deafblind Manual or Hands-on Sign Language) then it is more important than ever to adhere to the current guidance about hand washing. Click here for NHS guidance on how to wash your hands properly, to reduce the spread of germs.

Interpreters

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Daily Updates from the Prime Minister will include the provision of an interpreter on BBC 107 or 231. A summary of the key guidance in BSL is available from Sign Health here.

BSL Health Access is delivering immediate, on demand access to BSL interpreters for communication with Deaf people in health settings free of charge during the current Coronavirus situation.

The NRCPD has stated that one to one interpreters are working at their own discretion and following the published hygiene guidelines.

Guide Dogs

If you have to self-isolate and you have a guide dog, please contact Guide Dogs UK. They can advise on what is in the best interest of you and your dog and will keep in regular contact with you by telephone as your situation changes so they can offer up-to-date advice. You can call Guide Dogs UK on 0800 781 1444.

WhatsApp notifications

If you use WhatsApp messaging service, you can sign up for free Coronavirus information from the Government. To use this free service, simply add 07860 064422 to your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

Scams

Members of the public should ignore scam products such as supplements and anti-virus kits that falsely claim to cure or prevent COVID-19. Communities are also being urged to look out for signs of neighbours being targeted by doorstep criminals. While there are genuine groups of volunteers providing help during self-isolation, there have been reports of criminals preying on residents – often older people or people living with long-term health conditions – by cold-calling at their homes and offering to go to the shops for them. The criminals often claim to represent charities to help them appear legitimate before taking the victim’s money. For more information please click here.

Deafblind UK's services

Some of our services have been affected by the recent advice.

Social groups and home befriending

In order to keep people as safe as possible, Deafblind UK social groups and home befriending services have been suspended until further notice. Where possible, we are moving our home befriending service to telephone or email befriending.

Holidays

Our holiday accommodation is on Haven holiday parks, which are now temporarily closed. Therefore, we are unable to offer holidays until the parks re-open. If you have booked a holiday with us, we will contact you.

Supported living

Our supported living complex, Rainbow Court, is closed to visitors and all communal areas are closed until further notice. Our staff are still supporting residents in their own homes and taking all necessary health and safety precautions.

Care and support 

Our care and support services are continuing and our staff are taking all necessary health and safety precautions.

Training, awareness talks and outreach work

These will now take place by phone or video call only until further notice.

Shop and conference centre

Unfortunately, our shop and conference centre are now closed until further notice.

Urgent request for volunteers

We are urgently looking for volunteers to contact our members who are staying at home due to the Coronavirus epidemic. Making a regular phone call, sending an email or a letter to someome who is deafblind, and even more isolated than usual, could make a huge difference right now. If you have some time to give, we would love to hear from you! Click here for more information, or contact us on the details above.

For the most up to date Government information about Coronavirus please click here. If you need this information in other languages, please click here.