Directory of trusted websites
We have compiled a directory of useful and trusted websites with information on COVID-19, managing your mental health, activities to entertain yourself, online courses, virtual tours, ways to entertain children, and resources.
The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.
The government frequently updates guidance on the new COVID-19 rules. Please see https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest news.
As the UK undertakes the biggest vaccination roll-out in history, it is important to keep yourself up-to-date with the latest news from legitimate sources. We are aware of several scams relating to the vaccine, but please be assured you will NEVER be asked to pay for a vaccination.
The following guidance from the NHS should be your first port of call, providing information on eligibility, the process of being called for vaccination, and addresses effectiveness and side effects relating to the vaccine.
BBC have prepared a useful and information video on the differences between the Pfizer, Moderna, and Oxford vaccines.
From the Zoe COVID-19 study in collaboration with Kings College London, a longer form article about the vaccination, with further links to useful COVID-19 related articles.
From December people calling Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Mental Health Helpline will be able to ring NHS 111 – with local mental health advisors from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust staffing a dedicated team of experts on hand to support people with their mental health.
Call NHS 111 for mental health advice for adults and children from Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire 24/7 Mental Health Helpline
The Recovery College has created a new podcast, and hope to make courses available online.
10 tips to help you if you are worried about COVID-19
Elefriends is a a supportive online community where you can be yourself. We all know what it’s like to struggle sometimes, but now there’s a safe place to listen, share and be heard.
Mental Health First Aid England have created some helpful guides and videos for people to support their mental health while working from home.
…as well as for trained Mental Health First Aiders – it’s important for you to take care of your own wellbeing too!
Your Mind Plan. Fill out a short quiz to talk about your symptoms, and they’ll create a personalised guide for you.
Calm meditation resources
Oxfordshire Therapy and Self-Development Centre are providing free group therapy sessions via video call.
Mental Health Foundation: How to look after your mental health
Inevitably someone we know will be directly affected by COVID-19, and we understand that this may well result in the passing of a loved one. Here are some useful resources on coping with trauma and grief at this time.
Cruse Bereavement Care have a range of resources to give advice on coping with your own grief, or helping others to cope with theirs, as well as a national helpline if you have been affected.
The Government have created a helpful leaflet with information if you have experienced a bereavement.
Information for the Bereaved
Domestic abuse is never acceptable. Research suggests that domestic abuse cases have risen in other countries amidst lockdown. Lockdown doesn’t mean you have to cope with domestic abuse.
If you are at immediate risk call 999, if it is not safe for you to speak use the Silent Solution by pressing 55 when prompted. If you are deaf or hard of hearing you can use the emergency SMS service by texting 999. First text ‘Register’ to 999.
If you are at risk you can leave, and will be helped by police and support workers to get yourself and your family somewhere safe. You can also get help to stay as safe as possible at home.
Call the Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 731 0055 between 10am-7pm Monday-Friday, or email email@example.com
Further useful links can be found in this Domestic abuse during Covid-19 document
and in this document from Oxfordshire County Council about Oxfordshire help and support during Covid-19.
If you suspect that someone you know may be at risk during this time please see the Reducing the Risk webpage for information on what to do if you’re worried about someone.
Alcoholism and domestic abuse are intrinsically linked. Men who are dependent on alcohol are 6 times more likely to be involved in domestic abuse against women than others, and people who are victims of domestic abuse are more likely to fall victim to alcohol abuse to cope. Shoreline Recovery Center have prepared a resource on alcoholism and domestic abuse to support those in need and educate people.
The following guidance for employees has information about how COVID-19 affects your employment.
The Department for Work and Pensions have made special arrangements for those in receipt of benefits, or who need to make a new claim. Visit the Universal Credit website for more information.
A voucher scheme has launched for schools providing free school meals. Schools will be in touch with parents on an individual basis. Further information is available here:
Advice for budgeting your money.
Advice for carers of those with severe mental illness.
COVID-19: guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust launched a new befriending phone line for carers on Wednesday 3 June. Carers can call 01865 901012 at any time and leave their details. A befriender will call back between 11am and 12 noon, Monday to Friday.
When a member of the British military retires from active service and returns to civilian life, the adjustments required can be significant. One in five veterans are believed to suffer from mental health difficulties, most commonly depression, anxiety or alcohol dependency. Servicepeople that see combat are likeliest to experience difficulty later in life. Help is at hand for any veteran that needs it.
Mental Health, Housing and Financial Guide for Veterans
ARTLINK Arts for Wellbeing. Artlink uses visual arts, performance, music, and literature to make Oxfordshire hospitals more welcoming and help to reduce stress and anxiety. At the moment the arts programme is on hold so they have created a page of creative links to help us all to relax and unwind.
Rock Choir is the UK’s favourite contemporary choir. Each day at 3pm on Facebook Live they’re doing a sing-a-long rock song.
Gareth Malone’s Great British Home Chorus; weekly programme filled with rehearsals, special guests, and YouTube performances.
Fortnightly singing sessions from Sing Out Loud UK.
Daily Info online tutoring – get to grips with that hobby you always wanted to try.
Tony Fisher Loneliness & Isolation Project; artist Tony wants to work with people experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation to create photographs reflecting their experiences.
Artist Sarah Wimperis has released some of her illustrations so that people at home can do some mindful colouring.
Renowned illustrator Johanna Basford routinely offers free downloads of some of her work for you to print and complete at home.
Access Oxford’s Bodleian Library with this new digitised collection.
There’s a number of resources to download eBooks for free.
You Are Not Alone – The Telegraph’s place for stories of support, community spirit, optimism and social connectivity.
Are you unsure how to explain what’s happening to your little one? This special book has been created so that parents and carers can do just that.
Coronavirus: a book for children
30 virtual field trips for kids
BookTrust HomeTime have lots of resources to keep kids and adults entertained, including online books, games, quizzes, and drawing classes.
Skype a scientist, let your little one’s learn from scientific experts. Simply submit your question and this site will match you to a scientist for an online chat.
Find out what depths your favourite sea creatures reside in with this fun interactive site.
Stream stories with audible.
Family Links have set up a great site for parents with tips and tools to help them during this difficult time.
Our very own Oxfordshire Recovery College has created this incredible new podcast.
Weekly mindfulness sessions from Oxford Mindfulness Centre.
There’s numerous podcasts and audio recordings available from the University of Oxford, browse over 4,000 now.
Rock icon Neil young has made his archive catalogue available to stream to keep folk in self-isolation entertained.
Lots of holidays have been cancelled, but you can pretend like you’re away seeing the sites with the recently updated 101+ Virtual Tours of Popular Tourist Attractions Around the World
Lose yourself for hours watching animals and sea creatures in zoos and aquariums around the world with live web-cam footage. theverge.com/soothing-live-animal-webcams-aquarium-zoo
Tour the National Gallery virtually.
The Palace of Versailles
Google have a number of virtual tours available, including tourist highlights from across the world.
Explore the Pitt Rivers Museum.
Breathworks mindfulness online course
Sleepio is a clinically-evidenced sleep improvement programme that is fully automated and highly personalised, using cognitive behavioural techniques to help improve poor sleep.
AutonoMe are offering a slimmed-down version of their app free of charge for those with Learning Disabilities, Mental Health needs, Care Leavers, Young Homeless and others in the UK who need support with independent living skills.
Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creative and curious people.
Take an Ivy League College online course.
OpenLearn have a number of online courses available now.
British Sign have reduced their pricing so now is a great time to learn BSL.
Learn Makaton core vocabulary.
Upcoming online courses from the University of Oxford start in April and cover a range of disciplines.
Taking daily exercise is one of the four reasons the government has advised that it is fine to leave your household for. You can do one form of exercise outside each day, for example a walk, run, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
If you’re unsure about your ability, it might be wise to start gradually and build up. Please feel free to refer to the UK Chief Medical Officer’s Physical Activity Guidelines when determining the level of activity appropriate to you. The CMO recommends 150 minutes or more of moderate intensity physical activity a week – with every activity and minute counting.
Why Exercise helps Mental Health
better sleep – by making you feel more tired at the end of the day
happier moods – physical activity releases feel-good hormones that make you feel better in yourself and give you more energy
managing stress, anxiety or intrusive and racing thoughts – doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times
better self-esteem – being more active can make you feel better about yourself as you improve and meet your goals
reducing the risk of depression – studies have shown that doing regular physical activity can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a period of depression (by up to 30%)
NHS Fitness Studio exercise videos to keep you active indoors.
Sport England, Stay in, Work out.
Government guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing.
NHS Every Mind Matters
Rethink Mental Health has information on the amendments to the Mental Health Act, the Coronavirus Act 2020, and social care.
Oxfordshire County Council: Services and events affected by COVID-19
Oxford City Council: List of businesses operating online
National advice and local information from Oxfordshire County Council
Oxford Together: A community response to COVID-19
Oxford City Council Contact Centre
Oxford City Council has modified the way its Contact Centre will operate to support people during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Contact Centre will now provide a single point of contact for vulnerable people to request any support they may require to access food bank support, any additional support to collect medicines during peak times for pharmacies, and to find support to cope with potential mental health impacts as a result of feeling isolated.
Residents can get in touch through the Contact Centre team by calling 01865 249 811 or use the online form to raise issues and vulnerabilities related to:
Isolation; Self-isolation; Access to food; Medical Supplies; Access to local friendships and active community groups.
The Contact Centre is staffed 8am-5pm, with emergency cover out of hours.
The Contact Centre will identify what services are available for support and will refer them to the right local services or the Hubs as appropriate.
Locality Response Hubs
In Oxford, the City Council and the voluntary organisation, Oxford Hub, have partnered to make sure help is getting to those in need of this extra support.
For people needing general but not urgent support, they can log their details and the kind of support needed on the Oxford Together website www.oxfordtogether.org.
For those with more urgent support needs, or who are particularly vulnerable because of age, health, or mental health issues, the City Council’s Contact Centre team can help them get the support they need.
The Hubs have been set up to help those most in need:
people who have received a letter from the NHS identifying them as high risk; those needing food bank support; those with no local support from friends or family; with physical and mental health needs; vulnerable individuals and families
Five Hubs across the city cover North, South, East, West, and Central Oxford. They are also working with partners including the Primary Care Networks and pharmacies to take referrals for support.
Oxfordshire County Council Contact Centre
A new, dedicated line has been set up for Oxfordshire residents outside the city. It will be operational from 8:30am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am – 5pm Saturday and Sunday, and is there to offer priority support to our most high risk residents across the county.
If you or someone you know has been identified as high risk and has no support network, please contact the dedicated team on 01865 897820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Outside of Oxford City
Abingdon, Witney, Bicester, use the Trussell Trust, or contact
SOFEA may also be able to deliver.
Volunteer groups in the Didcot area and their contact details, for those who either need
the help or would like to volunteer, include;
Edinburgh Drive/ King Alfred Neighbours: 07999 090 484.
Fleet Meadow Community Support: 07927 412 911.Great Western Park Residents’ Association: 07805 127 477.
Ladygrove Residents’ Association: 07384 581 544.
SOFEA: 01235 510 774.
The four Citizens Advice charities; West Oxfordshire, Oxford, North Oxfordshire and South Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire South and Vale all work together to share knowledge and improve efficiency across the county. Each charity relies on local fundraising to continue their work and all are part of national Citizens Advice.
Citizens Advice across Oxfordshire are keen for people to know that they are still here for everyone. At the moment, they are not able to provide face-to-face advice but are bolstering their Adviceline telephone service to help anyone who is in need of advice.
They have asked people to begin by visiting their website, and calling the Adviceline only if they need further guidance, or cannot find an answer.
Citizens Advice website is constantly updated with the latest advice on what the coronavirus could mean for people on topics such as:
Sick pay; Rights to work from home; Flights, accommodation and event cancellation; People’s rights with schools closed; Scams; Losing work because of coronavirus.