How to support those around you

Image illustrating the power of social distancingSocial distancing

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

These measures are particularly important to follow, and you should significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family, if you:

  • Are over 70
  • Have an underlying health condition
  • Are pregnant

The image on the right illustrates the power of social distancing and how limiting exposure to others can reduce infection rate. When social distancing, the government advises the following:

  • Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  • Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
  • Work from home, where possible
  • Avoid large gatherings and gatherings in smaller public spaces, such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars and clubs
  • Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  • Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

For more government guidance on social distancing visit GOV.UK (external link).

Supporting children and young people

Children and young people might be feeling anxious at the moment, so let them know that you’re there for them if they need a chat.

This guide on how to talk to children about the Coronavirus is a great way to help start a discussion with younger ones. Older children and teenagers will probably pick up on the feelings of adults around them so it’s important to try to stay positive whilst being open and honest about the situation.

Make sure both you and young people are getting information from reliable sources such as the NHS, reputable charities and government websites. Lots of information on social media can be inaccurate.

Discuss things everyone can do to keep ourselves safe, such as washing hands regularly, especially before eating, catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue and throwing it away and avoiding meeting in large groups.

Keep to a regular routine as much as possible. Spend time outdoors if you can and make sure children and young people stick to a good sleep schedule.

To help keep young people safe, many of our youth groups have been temporarily suspended. If a young person is currently receiving extra support from a youth worker this may still continue over the phone.

Young people and exams

We know that lots of young people are worried about what will happen about their exams and how they will get their results. Young people will not sit their exams this summer. A Level examinations, GCSE’s, AS Levels, other qualifications and all primary assessments have been cancelled.

Instead, the exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards, will work with teachers to provide grades to students. Ofqual have developed a process with school representatives, that will provide a calculated grade to each student.

The grades will be based on teachers’ judgements about the grade the student would have achieved if the exams had gone ahead. However, teachers must take into account evidence and data such as the student’s performance on mock exams and non-exam assessments.

The aim is to provide calculated grades to students before the end of July. There will be an option for students to sit an exam early in the next academic year if they wish to.

Supporting businesses

It’s also really important we support local businesses in this time of uncertainty.

We are working closely with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Business Growth Hub to develop a business hub, which will support and advise business owners, charities and community organisations.

We are also looking at how we now implement the Government’s announcement regarding business rate relief and grants for eligible businesses.

Advice for Wigan Borough based businesses can be found on the Business Growth Hub website (external link). Alternatively, you can contact the council’s business engagement team.

Volunteer to help others

Volunteering is also a great way to help others and stay connected to the community. You might want to check on older relatives or neighbours to check if they need anything if they are worried about leaving the house themselves, or just to offer some emotional support.

If you are helping others, it’s important to keep both yourself and other people as safe as possible. Speak on the phone, video chat, email, text, use social media, or send letters or cards to offer support.

If you meet in person or drop off shopping for example, avoid physical contact and always wash your hands or use sanitizer before and after meeting. Do not visit others if you or anyone you live with is unwell.

If you regularly volunteer to support another person, consider who will support them if you are unable to. If you’re keen to volunteer, you will find lots of local organisations that may need people to help out by visiting: 

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