Islanders who are currently in the shielding category are being reassured that help will continue to be offered for those in need, despite shielding being paused nationally from 1st August 2020.

NHS Western isles says that for those who are currently shielding, the pause will mean that you can follow the same guidance as the rest of Scotland. However, you should continue to strictly follow physical distancing and hygiene measures and may also want to think about the levels of risk associated with what you are choosing to do. You can then decide how comfortable you are with that risk.

The local Community Support Hub and Helpline, led by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, which offers community support for anyone requiring assistance during the coronavirus pandemic, will continue to be available to those living in the Western Isles at 01851 600501.

The national telephone helpline (0800 111 4000) will also continue to be available, but will transfer any local calls received to the Community Support Hub and Helpline.

Those who have been shielding will continue to receive Priority Access to supermarket online delivery slots. This is in response to weekly grocery boxes being stopped on 31st July. 

Existing local Foodbanks will continue to be available for those who require them, with the Foodbank based at the Stornoway Golf Club (led by The Salvation Army and open each Wednesday and Saturday from 11am-2pm) offering stocks of fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, and chilled and frozen meals.

Food boxes will continue to be made available for those in need, and feature dry goods with longer-shelf lives, such as tinned items, pastas, rice, etc. However, as it is encouraged that fresh protein is required to maintain good health and nutrition, fresh items (fruit, vegetables, dairy and meats/protein) should also be eaten as part of a healthy diet. Requests by people with specific dietary requirements can also be made. For further support on local food distribution, please contact the Community Support Hub and Helpline.

Support will also continue to be offered to those who are vulnerable or on a low income through the Helpline. 

Although shielding is paused, the Scottish Government will continue to provide information and advice to individuals. This includes sending updates through their text SMS Shielding Service to those registered.  To register, text the SMS Shielding Service your 10 digit CHI number (mobile number and CHI number can be found on the shielding letter previously received – but please do not include any other information). Please note that the SMS Shielding Service only accepts text messages with pre-programmed replies. It does not take voice calls and cannot respond to questions.

Important guidance for those who have had shielding paused (from 1st August 2020)

·       keep the recommended 2 metre physical distance from others you do not live with
·       wear face coverings if you cannot physically distance as well as where mandatory (shops and public transport in line with Government legislation)
·       practice good hand hygiene (wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser)
·       cough or sneeze into a tissue and safely dispose of it, or use the crook of your elbow
·       avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
 
For further information on the latest guidance please view the Scottish Government Shielding Route map (for those at highest risk) at: https://bit.ly/331D5fL
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