Below, we have shared a few resources and organisations that might be of use to some of you, and might be of interest. It’s not a comprehensive list. If there are other organisations, you’d like to see on this list, or people that have supported you, who you think might be able to help others, do get in touch with us and we can add to the list. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Benefits, debt and finance
In England and Wales, the Citizens Advice Bureau offers support on a wide range of issues - including providing dedicated support related to benefit claims, housing, debt and money, work, family and the law. Whilst face-to-face meetings are not delivered by most offices at the moment, contact details (including a national helpline number and webchat) are provided here.
If you are in Northern Ireland, Advice NI offers a similar range of services. Their contact details are here. Or try the Law Centre Northern Ireland.
Benefit calculators can help you identify if you are missing out on any income you may be entitled to. For people anywhere in the UK, robust calculators are offered by Turn2Us and Entitled To.
Single parents also face specific challenges, and some organisations offer dedicated support for them. In England and Wales, Gingerbread offer support groups and provide a wide range of tailored advice and information here. Their site for Northern Ireland is here. In Scotland, a similar range of services are offered by One Parent Families Scotland.
Food can also be a real difficulty. The mission of the Independent Food Aid Network is "supporting and connecting a range of independent frontline food aid organisations while advocating on their behalf at a national level." Their national map of food banks can be found here. The Trussell Trust link to a broad range of information, support and advice for people in crisis, and also provide a directory of food banks across the UK.
In England and Wales, Shelter are the leading provider of advice on a wealth of housing issues, from homelessness and rental properties in a poor state of repair, to support related to mortgage repossession and securing council housing. Their contact pages and local service finder are available here. Shelter Scotland have a separate website, hosted here.
If you are in Northern Ireland, Housing Rights offers a similar range of information and advice. Their contact page is here.
The Samaritans are a listening service providing non-judgmental support 24 hours a day, all year round. In addition to their telephone service, they can be emailed or sent a letter. Details of all these services are here: https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/ [They link to dedicated services in Ireland, Scotland and Wales - but using the same phone number as is provided on their main landing page]
Mind have a page dedicated to support services for mental health during the COVID pandemic: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/
Mind also offer support in England and Wales through dedicated helplines, host an online forum for discussion and support, host a comprehensive guide to support services for specific needs, provides information to help with supporting other people, and tools and resources for urgent mental health support. In Northern Ireland, Mindwise offer similar services, and can be found here. Or there's Lifeline Freephone: 0808 808 8000.
Support in Mind offers support for people in Scotland, and can be found here.
Rethink cover the whole of the UK.
If you need emergency mental health advice, contact the NHS urgent mental health helpline.
A full list of helplines can be found on Mind.
Relate offer a range of digital and telephone counselling services. Whilst they usually do charge for counselling, charges are usually income-related and on a sliding scale. For people in England and Wales, their website is here, and links to a wide variety of contact options here. For anyone in Northern Ireland, Relate NI can be found here. For people in Scotland, Relationships Scotland offer similar services. Their details and infoline information can be found here.
If you have concerns about your children's mental health, Mind detail services covering a wide range of support needs and contact types for young people, from face-to-face support for people in crisis to telephone support and self-help books: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/for-children-and-young-people/finding-support/
There's also Family Lives – 0808 800 2222.
It is important to acknowledge that domestic abuse is not just physical - it can also include controlling behaviour (isolation from friends and family, control of internet access and social media, etc), consistent undermining and criticism, economic (financial) control and abuse, threats, emotional abuse, or unwanted sexual behaviour.
The UK government has specifically identified that household isolation requirements do not apply to anyone escaping or avoiding domestic abuse.
If your safety is under immediate threat, please call 999 and ask for the police. If you are unable to speak, pressing '55' (for 'silent solution') when prompted informs the police that you are in a genuine emergency. Coughing and tapping the receiver to let call handlers know you are there can also help with the processing of calls.
Otherwise, in England and Wales, Refuge run the national domestic abuse helpline, which can be called for help, advice or a listening ear on 0808 2000 247. Their website also offers online chat or messaging options, and provides advice on safely browsing and keeping your devices safe when they may be monitored. In Scotland, the National Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage helpline offers similar support, and can be found here. In Northern Ireland, Women's Aid suggest the National Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline, details of which can be found here. Please note that all of these pages have 'quick exit' buttons.
Women's Aid provide support services for women and children in unsafe situations. They have a dedicated resource page providing safety advice for survivors during COVID-19. For women in England and Wales Women's Aid list several ways of contacting them here . Their Scottish site can be found here, and their page for Northern Ireland here. These pages also have 'quick exit' buttons.
Family members in prison
If you are worried about a family member in prison in England or Wales, the Prisoners' Advice and Care Trust list several sources of potential support. In Scotland, the Scottish Government provides a page of resources for family support, including Families Outside who can be contacted here. In Northern Ireland, NIACRO offer a helpline for families whose contact details can be found here.
Problems with drigs or alcohol
Services for drug and alcohol treatment vary greatly across the UK, making it hard to provide any straightforward overview of what is on offer. However, Adfam have sought to develop a list of useful resources and helplines here, offering support to both people with concerns about their own drug or alcohol use and those concerned about friends or relatives.
As Adfam note, discussing any concerns with your GP can be a good start. Most areas will also have dedicated community addiction treatment services funded by their Local Authority for people who need more support. Quite separately, organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous run meetings in many towns and cities - these are open to anyone who wants to stop using drugs or drinking, and are run exclusively by people with histories of drug or alcohol dependence.