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Support for people, families and businesses

Last Updated 11:32am, 6 October 2021


Information about coronavirus is available in different formats and languages, including easy read, BSL and for people who are not online.

Financial help in your local area

Families on low incomes can get help with food and utility costs this winter via the UK government’s new Household Support Fund, which we are administering locally.

Support for employees

The government has produced guidance around the financial support available for workers

The Money Saving Expert website also has some useful advice on your rights as an employee.

Financial support if you're on a low income and need to self isolate

Self-isolation is one of the most powerful tools for controlling the transmission of Covid-19. The government has now launched a Test and Trace Support payment of £500 so that those on low incomes are able to self-isolate without worry about their finances.

Just under 4 million people who are in receipt of benefits in England will be eligible for this payment, which was made available to anyone required to self-isolate from 28 September 2020.

Sick pay

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) tell your employer immediately. They should tell you if you’re covered by their sick leave policy. After the first 7 days of absence, they may also ask you for an isolation note to show you cannot work because of coronavirus. You can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online.

If you cannot get sick pay from your employer, you could get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for every day you’re in isolation. You must self isolate for at least 4 days to be eligible.

If someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus

You must stay at home if someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is sometimes known as ‘self-isolating’. You should work from home if you can. If you cannot work from home tell your employer that a member of your household has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and that you must self-isolate. They should tell you if you’re covered by their sick leave or special leave policy.

If you cannot get sick pay from your employer, you might be able to get Statutory Sick Pay from day one of self-isolation.

If you lose your job

Financial support

Apply online for Universal Credit to get financial support if you’ve lost your job.

You might also be able to:

Further information on what to do if you were employed but have lost your job


Redundancy is a form of dismissal from your job. It happens when employers need to reduce their workforce.

See the government’s Redundancy: your rights webpage for more information.

Looking for other work

Find full or part-time jobs in using the Find a job service.

Job opportunities in Devon

The care sector currently has an urgent requirement for workers – the latest vacancies in this sector can be viewed on Proud to Care Devon.

For other employment opportunities, have a look at the Heart of the South West Virtual Career Fairs.

Job opportunities with local authorities, voluntary and charitable organisations can be found on the Devonjobs website.

Support if you are self-employed

There are a number of measures and schemes available to support businesses such as grant funding, business rate relief and loans.

Guidance for people who are self-employed and getting less work or no work because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 024 1222.

The Money Saving Expert website also has some useful information if you’re self employed.


Other financial help

In the interim, self-employed people may still be eligible for other government support including:

Further information on all support available and how to access these schemes

Support for businesses in Devon

Local businesses (those in the Devon County Council, Plymouth or Torbay areas) can access free business support and advice from the Heart of the South West Growth Hub.

Food support for individuals and families in need

Food banks and community larders

There are a number of foodbanks and community larders in Devon that provide emergency food and support to individuals and families. Find what food support is available near you on the Pinpoint Devon website

The Community Insights Team at Devon Community Foundation has also provided some information about community projects in Devon.

Healthy Start Vouchers – free food and vitamin vouchers

Healthy Start is a programme to help families with young children get free food vouchers to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins for under 4’s (vit A, C and D) and vitamins if you are pregnant (folic acid and vit C & D).

If you have children under 4 or are pregnant, and you or your family receive qualifying benefits you may be eligible – you can quickly find out on the Healthy Start website

Applying is easy, you can print off an application form from the Healthy Start website and post it to the Healthy Start office. Once you are registered, food vouchers are posted to you every 4 weeks and vitamin coupons every 8 weeks.

To make things easier at the moment, vitamins are being posted to families. Please ask your midwife or Children’s Centre for more information, or text your health visitor on 07520 631721.

Free school meals - including the holiday voucher scheme

The holiday voucher scheme

Ahead of the Christmas holidays, families of primary, secondary and sixth form college pupils who currently receive free school meals will automatically be sent supermarket vouchers to help them buy food.

Find out how to claim your free supermarket vouchers.

Apply for free school meals

You may be eligible for free school meals if your family receives one of the following qualifying benefits:

  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods).
  • Income Support (IS).
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA).
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (IRESA).
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit.
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, that does not exceed £16,190).

If you think you might be eligible for Free School Meals, you can apply through the Devon Citizens Portal. This is the quickest and easiest way to apply and will result in you getting an instant decision.

Alternatively, you can call the Education Helpline on 0345 155 1019 to request a paper copy of the form.