Coronavirus – Temporary Office arrangements and helpful advice
Due to the increasingly serious situation with the Covid19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, my constituency office will be operating differently from Monday 23rd March 2020, for the next several weeks and until further notice.
In line with advice from the UK and Welsh Governments, and for the safety of both constituents and my office staff, my constituency office will be closed to visitors from 5pm on Friday 20th March, and I will not be holding any face-to-face meetings or appointments, including drop-in advice surgeries, in the coming weeks.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU NEED MY ADVICE
Please note that we continue to support constituents via our email and telephone system.
Post has been re-directed to a temporary address and should be received as normal.
Please continue to use the following telephone number until further notice and leave a message. (The phone is on a transfer system so it may take a few more rings than normal. However we will pick up messages and then call you back at the earliest opportunity):
You can also email me: [email protected]
My website is: https://www.dawnbowdenam.co.uk/
I also have my Facebook page: Dawn Bowden MS/AS on which I will post key public health messages.
And I am on twitter: @Dawn_Bowden
All my staff have access to email and telephones so they will continue to pursue casework as best we are able.
However we must all recognise that many of the organisations that we deal with could be under significant pressure in the weeks ahead due to Covid-19. The NHS, care services and our local authorities have an important role in sustaining services as the virus will affect their staff and services.
Subject to Public Health advice I aim to offer my own voluntary time to help in community efforts to support those in need at this time.
Voluntary Action Merthyr Tydfil (VAMT) are directing potential volunteers via the Volunteering Wales website here: https://volunteering-wales.net/vk/volunteers/index.htm
In Rhymney GAVO have a similar sign up system for those with volunteering time: https://www.gavo.org.uk/volunteering
ADVICE AND HELP
As you may know a range of websites are offering advice about the current situation and the main ones are listed below:
Given the speed at which advice can change these websites are worth checking.
I am aware that many local businesses are very concerned about the impact of the virus. Your initial queries should be directed via the
- Business Wales website which has a page on Coronavirus and support packages https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice
and their phone number is 03000 6 03000
Other business and employment advice
I have been contacted by a number of local businesses and self-employed constituents and I know this is an uncertain time for you all.
Advice is constantly being updated but I hope the following websites and helplines may be useful if you need to speak to anyone seeking expert advice on the latest situation.
- UK Government Business Advice see the page here
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has a dedicated helpline for businesses concerned about being able to pay tax due to COVID-19: 0800 0159 559.
- Acas provides workplace advice for employers and employees. It has a page on Coronavirus that is being updated daily
and provides a helpline: 0300 123 1100.
- Wales TUC – the Wales TUC are supporting their members as are individual unions https://www.tuc.org.uk/covid-19-coronavirus-wales
For example the public services union:
WORK AND BENEFITS ADVICE
- DWP advice can be found here:
- Citizens Advice Cymru :provide a wide range of advice about benefit rights and debt management etc
OTHER USEFUL CONTACTS AND WEBSITES
Caerphilly County Borough Council: www.caerphilly.gov.uk/coronavirus or 01443 815588
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council: www.merthyr.gov.uk/coronavirus or 01685 725000
UK Government Universal Credit advice: www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus
Coronavirus financial advice service: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you
Transport for Wales Coronavirus travel advice https://tfwrail.wales/covid-19
Foreign Office travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Advice for people who have booked tickets to travel abroad: https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
Welsh Government schools and education advice: https://gov.wales/education-coronavirus
Welsh Government advice on social distancing: https://gov.wales/how-reduce-risk-catching-or-spreading-coronavirus
Welsh Government social and community care advice: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-social-or-community-care-and-residential-settings
Gas Leak – 0800 11 999
Power Cut – 0800 678 3105
Dwr Cymru – 0800 085 3968
Merthyr Valley Homes – 01685 385 231
Merthyr Tydfil Housing – 01685 352 800
Wales and West Housing – 0800 052 2526
Merthyr & Cynon Food Bank – 07427537437
Cwm Taf Health Board:
Out of Hours GP Service – 0300 1235 060
Aneurin Bevan Health Board: Out of Hours GP Service 01633 744 285
Police (non emergency) 101
Live Fear Free – 0808 801 0800
Dan 24/7 (Drugs and Alcohol) – 0808 808 2234
The Samaritans – 116 123
BBC tips on looking after your mental health: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51873799
Mental healthy charity Mind’s advice on protecting your mental health: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/
Useful mental health helpline contact numbers:
- Mind – 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans Cymru – 116 123
- CALL Helpline Wales – 0800 132 737
- Hafal – 01792 816 600
- Bipolar UK – 0333 3233 880
As you will be aware this remains a fast moving situation so please check back with the websites regularly. We must all accept that if the impact of the virus gets more severe then serious disruption must be anticipated.
So please follow the public health advice and we can help each other to reduce the impact of this serious virus.