The government has pledged to increase social care support for vulnerable people as part of a £12 million scheme to help people self-isolate in areas with higher coronavirus infection rates.
In partnership with local authorities, the government will launch nine pilots in England to test new ways to help people stick to self-isolation rules.
The £12 million in funding will be used for initiatives including providing alternative accommodation for people in overcrowded households, increased social care support for vulnerable adults and providing ‘buddying’ services for people whose mental health has been affected by lockdown and the variant outbreaks.
The pilots are designed to encourage people most at risk of catching and transmitting COVID-19 to come forward for testing and to self-isolate successfully if they test positive.
The areas that will receive funding for these pilots are: Newham; Yorkshire and Humber; Lancashire, Blackburn & Darwen, Blackpool; Greater Manchester; Cheshire and Merseyside; Royal Borough of Kingston; Hackney; Peterborough, Fenland and South Holland, and Somerset.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “From the very beginning of this global pandemic, the British public have made tremendous sacrifices and played their part whenever they’re asked – social distancing, self-isolating, getting tested and now finally, getting the jab.
“Variants have the potential to be a Trojan horse for our hard won progress and it is more vital than ever that we do what we can to show them the exit door, following the rules and self-isolating when asked.
“We recognise just how challenging self-isolation is for many people and these pilots will help us find the best ways to support people and making it easier for everyone to keep doing their bit.”
To test ways to best support people to stay self-isolating if they test positive for COVID-19 and to encourage uptake of testing, the government is also backing a pilot across the Greater Manchester region with £2 million of funding.
This cash injection is assessing ways to boost people’s ability to keep isolating, including ‘support and engagement teams’ who work with households within 24 hours of a positive test to develop a bespoke plan for self-isolation.