10 Days Your Way: Bespoke support to help you self-isolate

Published Sunday 24 October 2021 at 14:40

A new programme of support has launched to help Blackburn with Darwen residents comply with national guidance when they are told to self-isolate.

10 Days Your Way is a bespoke support package aimed at removing any barriers that could prevent people with Covid, or unvaccinated people identified as close-contacts, from completing their self-isolation period.

The government’s Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) is funding a total of nine self-isolation pilots in areas of England that have had higher than average Covid rates throughout the pandemic.

Blackburn with Darwen is part of the Lancashire self-isolation pilot, which was awarded £2.5million. The funding will be used to develop bespoke support packages and enlist the help of a wide range of local partners to avoid anyone feeling they have no option but to break self-isolation rules.

Coun Mustafa Desai, Executive Member for Adult Services & Prevention, said:

We know that self-isolation periods are effective in preventing the spread of Covid in our local communities, but we also appreciate how difficult it can be for people when they have to put their lives on hold and stay at home for 10 days.

Not everyone can work from home and may come up against obstructions when they explain to their employer that they can’t go into work.

For anyone with caring responsibilities – for an older relative, for example – finding out they have to self-isolate can be incredibly stressful, wondering how they’ll manage.

And even the small things we take for granted, like walking the dog, are not permitted when we have to self-isolate.

Our 10 Days Your Way programme aims to take the worry out of self-isolation, swiftly looking at all the factors that could lead to someone not following self-isolation rules fully, and putting in place workable solutions.

The Council is supported by a variety of fantastic local organisations, charities and community groups who can contribute to bespoke support packages for residents. Together we will support more people to self-isolate, and help prevent the spread of Covid in Blackburn with Darwen this autumn and winter.

When someone in Blackburn with Darwen tests positive for Covid, or is identified as a close-contact, local Test & Trace officers will pass their details to the Self-Isolation Support team.

Trained Self-Isolation Support Officers will then get in touch with the individuals who have been told to self-isolate. They will carry out a telephone interview, taking time to get to know their individual situation, then devise a bespoke support plan within 24 hours to arrange any necessary help to avoid individuals breaking self-isolation rules – and risking infecting other people with Covid.

Blackburn with Darwen’s Self-Isolation Support Officers work closely with a range of local organisations and groups who can help to put in place the tailored support an individual needs. These include The Oaks Money Advice Centre, Jubilee Tower Credit Union, Care Network, Child Action NW, Shelter, School of Sign Language and various Council departments, including school transport.

Support packages will vary from one person to another. They could include help taking children to school or after school activities, arranging care packages for anyone you have caring responsibility for, talking to your employer about your eligibility for Statutory Sick Pay, arranging alternative accommodation for people living in large households, or advice on staying active while indoors and keeping spirits up – plus lots more.

Under current self-isolation rules, anyone who tests positive for Covid must self-isolate for 10 days. Close-contacts who are over 18 and not vaccinated against Covid must self-isolate, and are advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible.

Self-isolation means not leaving the house at any time, including to go for a walk around the block.

Anyone who refuses to comply with self-isolation rules could have enforcement action taken against them and be issued with a fine.

Paul Fleming, Blackburn with Darwen’s Strategic Director of Resources, led on the Lancashire-wide bid for self-isolation pilot funding. He added:

This funding is helping us to respond to the challenges for individuals and families who have to self-isolate. It’s all about making this difficult period easier and simpler for people to help boost compliance with self-isolation rules.

Working together with other Lancashire authorities and local partners, we can all learn from what works and what doesn’t to improve our response to any local outbreaks.

The eight other areas of England that are receiving funding for self-isolation pilots are: Newham; Yorkshire and Humber; Greater Manchester; Cheshire and Merseyside; Royal Borough of Kingston; Hackney; Peterborough, Fenland and South Holland, and Somerset.

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