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Coronavirus - Information for residents icon

Coronavirus: information for residents

We know that these are confusing and uncertain times for our residents. Our staff have a never-ending commitment to the public, and in this particularly difficult period we're working even harder for you, so we can get through this together in the best way possible.

We've put together a list of important information for you from Council Tax queries, council services (including bin collections, which are currently running as normal), financial help and support services, education queries, and much more. There is also a list of FAQs which will hopefully answer the most common questions you have.

For any questions which aren't answered here, you can send a direct message to the Coronavirus information for Middlesbrough Facebook page.

Do you need this page in another language?

Click here to get this page (information for residents) translated.

Use the grey 'ReciteMe' toolbar at the top of the page to change the language. Click the button with 6 flags on (the 11th button) and choose the language you need.

Please do not click on the photographs at the top of the page. They will take you away from the page. Scroll down the page to find the information you need.

We also have advice about health and staying at home available in 17 different languages.

The charity SignHealth has coronavirus information and advice in British Sign Language (BSL).

Help ​Boro​

We've put together a range of support to help our residents and communities stay safe and well through these difficult times.

If you're affected by coronavirus and need help, let us know and we'll match you with a volunteer in your area.

Here are some of the things we can help you with:

  • Food
  • Medicine
  • Someone to listen and support you
  • Health advice and taking care of yourself

We can help with other concerns you have too, please do get in touch. We're all here to help.

You can fill in a short online form to tell us you need help, call us on 01642 729777, or email Helpboro@middlesbrough.gov.uk.

View the Help Boro leaflet which is being delivered to every house in Middlesbrough.

Take care and we will be in touch soon.

Due to an overwhelming response from amazing Middlesbrough people, we currently have lots of caring volunteers. If you'd like to help, we'll let you know about our volunteer recruitment programme through the Coronavirus information for Middlesbrough Facebook page.

Council Tax

If you normally pay your annual Council Tax over a 10 month period (April to January), you can apply to put back your payments for April and May 2020 to February and March 2021, helping to reduce your monthly outgoings over this difficult period.

Call us on 01642 726005 if you need help.

You may be eligible to apply for the Hardship Fund for Council Tax relief during this time. More information is available below.

Find out how to complete common tasks relating to benefits, Business Rates, and Council Tax, while the Customer Centre is closed and you're unable to do those things in person.

Help for renters

The government has announced measures to protect renters and landlords affected by coronavirus. No renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this time. 

This protection includes:

  • Emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented housing while this national emergency is taking place
  • No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis
  • Protection for landlords as the 3 month mortgage payment holiday is extended to Buy to Let mortgages
  • You can get support with rent payments to your social housing provider, as well as support if you're renting with a private landlord. Call us on 01642 726005 to find out more.

For more information go to:

Hardship Fund - what is it and how can I apply?

If you're of working age and currently get Council Tax support, you'll get up to an extra £150 off your Council Tax bill. In some cases, this will mean you may not pay anything in 2020/21.You'll get a new bill in early April which will show this extra help.

We've extended our crisis payment scheme to help you if you've been directly impacted by, or impacted as a result of, coronavirus and you're waiting for entitlement for Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is still the main benefit system for people who are out of work. But we know that waiting to be approved for Universal Credit can leave people in financial need. So we're stepping in to give support to people who are waiting for Universal Credit payments. We'll be aiming to make a payment of £20 per adult, plus £10 for every child, to families in financial need.

For help, call the Community Support Team on 08081 789 278.

Schools - free school meals / education support / am I a key worker? / SEND

Free school meals

All Middlesbrough schools have their own plans for free school meals. Please contact your child's school for information about their arrangements for children who are unable to attend school and get free school meals.

Home schooling resources

These are extraordinary times. Children across the country are not able to attend school and are being home schooled, which can be challenging for many parents and carers as they find themselves needing to become teachers. Our schools are working with families to ensure that children can continue with their education and keep some form of routine in their lives.

If you'd like to keep your children busy and challenged, or you're a teacher looking at more ways to support your students, there are lots of resources and support available to you.

Our MAP team have lots of practical support, advice, and learning resources - many of which are free - available to teachers, parents, and students to support them with their education. Take a look on the MAP Middlesbrough website.

A set of home schooling work packs has also been created, covering both mainstream and SEND education, from Early Years to Key Stage 4. Topics include maths, English, science, drawing, and other fun activities.

Vulnerable children / Key Workers

The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and for schools to stay open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. These are the children of Key Workers, or children who are classed as vulnerable or who have an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP).

These places are limited, so if you're a key worker, or your child is vulnerable or has an EHCP, please make sure you follow government advice on how to stay safe. Don't forget children must observe the same social distancing rules as adults.

If your work is critical to the coronavirus response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed on the government's website, and you cannot keep your child safe at home, they will be prioritised for education provision. ​Further information is available in the government guidance, including a list of which jobs are classed as key workers.

Parents needing information can speak to the Single Point of Contact by calling 01642 201831 (Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 5pm).

Special educational needs and disability (SEND)

If you have a question about a child with SEND, please speak to the SEND Assessment team by calling 01642 201831.

Other changes

In our response to guidance from the government, the following Children's Services have been affected:

  • children's centres are closed
  • council nurseries Bright Stars and Stainsby Nursery are closed
  • Early Help services will support families via phone
  • South Tees Youth Offending Service is still running and is in contact with all service users

What if I am in financial crisis? - how to get help

We know these are worrying times. If you cannot afford to buy food, pay your gas and electric, or buy urgent clothing essentials due to coronavirus, you may be eligible for a Crisis Award as part of the Community Support Scheme.

You can make a crisis application by calling the Freephone number 08081 789 278 or you can apply online. Find out more about Crisis Awards and apply online.

Any awards will be delivered via email / text where possible, given the current guidance to avoid contact with people. Awards are usually made as vouchers or pre-paid cards. So if we can, we'll email the Award to you, or send you a text message telling you how to use your Award at a PayPoint outlet.

If you're struggling to buy food and basic essentials as you're self-isolating or caring for a vulnerable person and are unable to leave home, the #HelpBoro project may be able to help you. You can find out more below.

Council services

Council facilities and buildings

Our switchboard is open as normal, but our lines are very busy. Please try to do things online if you can.

The following buildings and venues are closed until further notice:

  • council buildings: Middlesbrough Town Hall and Civic Centre – all council meetings have been suspended until further notice
  • Middlesbrough House is closed to customers making cash payments (please pay online, by phone, or by post)
  • leisure venues: Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, Dorman Museum, Middlesbrough Theatre, Middlesbrough Town Hall, Newham Grange Farm
  • community venues: libraries and Community Hubs, parks and play areas
  • Middlesbrough Bus Station (find out more about where bus services will leave from)
  • Zetland and Captain Cook Square multi-storey car parks - parking charges in council car parks have also been suspended
  • Register Office - all weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are cancelled until further notice, birth registrations are suspended, and death registrations must be made by phone (01642 729004)
  • Teesside Archives

View a full list of changes and closures to council services

Benefits and Council Tax

  • Middlesbrough House is closed to the public for benefits and Council Tax enquiries
  • Our online systems for benefits and Council Tax are available as normal
  • Phone lines are busy but otherwise operating as normal

View a full list of changes and closures to council services

Environment services

We are working hard to continue delivering your services. The following are currently running as normal:

  • cremations and burials
  • building maintenance
  • school catering
  • waste and recycling collections
  • alley cleaning
  • emergency highways and streetlight repairs
  • emptying of litter and dog waste bins
  • fly-tipping (removed after 72 hours) and graffiti removal
  • pest control services
  • highways services including traffic signals, street lighting, and winter maintenance

We're adapting quickly to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable residents, so some of our services are being temporarily reduced or stopped:

  • bulky and white goods collections
  • grass cutting
  • town centre mechanical sweepers

View a full list of changes and closures to council services

We want to make sure everyone stays as safe as possible so we're asking you to take a couple of extra steps for the safety of our staff when you're disposing of your waste.

Please disinfect your bin handles before putting your bin out for collection. Our crews empty hundreds of bins a day and we all touch the same handles. Our crews wear gloves but we'd really appreciate your cooperation in keeping our staff safe.

Disposing of coronavirus waste

If you're self-isolating or 1 or more people in your household have symptoms of coronavirus, you'll need to:

  • put your waste into a plastic bag and tie securely
  • put this plastic bag inside a second plastic bag and tie securely
  • wait 72 hours before adding the bagged waste into your bin

Do not put any bagged waste into your blue lid bin for recycling.

Remember

  • Make sure your bins are ready for collection at 7am
  • Make more space in your blue lid recycling bin: squash plastic bottles, fold cardboard, crush cans and tins, and you’ll fit more in
  • Loads of household and food packaging can be recycled in your blue lid bin - find out what can be recycled
  • Wash your hands after putting out and bringing in your bins

How to report unscrupulous businesses and scams

Unfortunately coronavirus is being used as the basis for new scams. Cleveland Police have produced an information leaflet about coronavirus scams and useful information.

If you're worried about fraud or scams, or think you might be a victim, Action Fraud has helpful advice and an online fraud reporting tool.

Some businesses are trying to illegally profit from the current situation. If you'd like more information on how to report a business, or think you have been a victim of a scam, contact Citizen's Advice online via the Citizens Advice website or call 0808 223 1133.

Health

Please follow NHS guidance on health in relation to coronavirus.

You must:

  • only go outside for food, health reasons, or work if you cannot work from home
  • stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home and regularly throughout the day

NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service which can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Use this service if:

  • you think you might have coronavirus
  • you've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy, health facility (like The Live Well Centre), or hospital.

Stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone but check their website for information first.

Information about how to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus and how to self-isolate are also available on the NHS website.

Get advice if you're an informal carer, or you're caring for or supporting someone over 70 with Dual Sensory Impairment.

Find out how to keep your pets and animals safe.

Middlesbrough Council, the NHS, and Public Health England (PHE) are extremely well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. Measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of our residents and staff, while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.

You can still access the services you need below:

  • Sexual health services - call 0300 330 11 22 for an appointment (The Live Well Centre clinic is only accepting people who have made an appointment)
  • Substance misuse and alcohol services - call 01642 876323
  • Harm minimisation (needle exchange) is still open at The Live Well Centre - (Monday to Friday: 9 to 5pm, except 9am to 6:30pm on Wednesdays, and Saturday: from 9am to 1pm)
  • Stop smoking services can be accessed online (from April 1) via the Stop Smoking South Tees website
  • All group-based health visiting and school nursing services have been suspended (including breastfeeding groups, baby clinics, school nurse drop-ins, antenatal groups, and vision/hearing/weight screening)
  • New birth visits will be available as home visits, and all other routine development checks will be offered via phone - call 0300 303 1603 for phone advice and support

Domestic abuse

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, there is always help available.

You can call My Sisters Place for advice on 01642 241864, or speak to their counselling service on 01642 256063.

You can also get lots more information including tips on staying safe.

How to keep positive and busy

When you're staying at home, it's important to take care of your mind as well as your body. You may feel bored, frustrated, or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health, or the health of those close to you.

It's okay to feel like this - everyone reacts in their own way to challenging events and uncertainty. It's important to remember that staying at home may be difficult, but you're helping to protect yourself and others by doing it.

The following websites will give you tips and advice on things you can do to help you cope with how you're feeling, but make sure you get further support if you feel you need it:

We know that exercising can also help you feel better, so why not try a workout at home?

Workouts for the family to do together:

Workout for the over 50s:

If you're keen to keep learning, visit the Middlesbrough Community Learning Service website or call 01642 811400 to find out about online courses.

You can use our Borrowbox service to download eBooks and audiobooks 24 hours a day.

FAQs for residents

I'm claiming Jobseekers Allowance, what should I do?

  • You do not have to attend the JobCentre
  • The government has guaranteed that all payments will be made automatically during this time - if you do not get your payment as usual, please call the DWP
  • If possible, please carry on with your job search activity online as usual
  • Please do not go out, unless it's essential (food shopping, getting medication, exercise)
  • If you have coronavirus, you do not have to submit a Fit Note

I'm claiming Universal Credit, what should I do?

  • You do not have to attend the JobCentre
  • The government has guaranteed that all payments will be made automatically during this time - if you do not get your payment as usual, please call the DWP
  • If possible, please continue with your job search activity online as usual
  • Please do not go out, unless it's essential (food shopping, getting medication, exercise)
  • If you have coronavirus, you do not have to submit a Fit Note
  • There is more information on your UC account online

I need to apply for benefits because I now have no income / I have been suspended from work / my temporary work has stopped / my zero hour job has no hours / my workplace has closed / I am self-employed and now have no income

  • Apply for Universal Credit online
  • Do not go to a JobCentre
  • You can apply for an advance online, if you need it
  • If you have coronavirus, you do not have to submit a Fit Note