Letter to Editor: Government must do more to support those shielding

News / Sat 13th Jun 2020 at 09:00am

Dear Editor,

Government must do more to support those shielding

We are hearing testimonies from people in the clinically extremely vulnerable group who are shielding or being shielded during the coronavirus pandemic. This group includes children, those living in long-term care facilities for the elderly or special needs, as well as those living in their own home.

Nonetheless, some people have had to move out of their home to protect themselves from exposure to the virus from others, as the risk is too high. In addition, some people have had difficulty finding the right financial advice or support. For example, a student receiving a student loan who may have done part-time work to support their income, is not eligible for benefits and seems to have fallen through the cracks of government support during this crisis.

Whilst there is some support by contacting community hubs and there are NHS Responders to collect shopping, medication or ‘telephone check in and chat’, many of those in the shielding group have had no contact whatsoever.

One shielding person said ‘It was 10 weeks before I received an emergency food parcel from the government’ and many other people have been missed.

We have created a short 4-minute survey for anyone in the shielding group to complete or share with someone they know who may be shielding. The purpose is to highlight any gaps in provision for now and the future. It will also give a voice to the shielding group to inform local recovery plans. The link to the survey is below:


For those that consent to further contact, short video testimonies would give a glimpse into life in lockdown for a someone currently forced to shield. This group of people will have to remain in their homes for a time far beyond the time when other people are being eased back into the community. These testimonies will complement the good work of Harlow Museum who are seeking resident’s memories during this time.

Harlow Coronavirus People Before Profit Group

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