As this will be a very different winter for everyone, in Falkirk, Scotland, and across the world, we have launched our Wellness in Winter campaign, helping our communities look after each other.
We want to focus on people’s health and wellbeing throughout the winter – everything from physical health (including flu vaccinations and how they are being rolled out) and mental health, to how to keep spirits up during the festive period (and beyond, into January), and financial worries.
Previously, we would have organised events which brought together our local groups and services with our key partners, allowing people to access this information in person, but this year, we want to help Falkirk groups and communities promote their activities and efforts. The list below is the result of this.
We hope you find this page useful, and that you stay safe and well this winter.
On Tuesday 16th March, Scottish Government announced their timeline for further easing of lockdown restrictions, in light of of decreasing COVID-19 numbers and increasing vaccinations. Key points are listed below (and in this useful graphic):
- Friday 26th March: places of worship in Level 4 can reopen, with gatherings of up to 50 people, (where there is space for physical social distancing)
- Friday 2nd April: “Stay Home” rule replaced by “Stay Local” (your own local authority area)
- Monday 5thApril (Easter Monday): outdoor contact sports for 12 – 17 year olds, click and collect for non-essential items, mobility shops and (non-mobile) hairdressers and barbers are permitted, amongst others, along with phased returns to college
- Monday 12thApril – Friday 19thApril: all pupils return to school full-time
- Monday 26th April: (amongst others) a maximum of 6 people from up to 3 households can meet; travel within mainland Scotland permitted; all shops, gyms, libraries, museums and galleries open; hospitality and tourist accommodation open (with restrictions); weddings and funerals permitted up to 50 people.
- Monday 17th May: in-home socialising with up to 4 people from 2 households permitted; cinemas open; further in-person support services available
These dates all rely on COVID-19 numbers continuing to fall, and people adhering to current guidelines until these points.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“It is not possible to provide specific dates or details for coming out of lockdown beyond 17 May – that will depend on what impact there is from the changes already made – however my hope and ambition is that from early June, all of Scotland will effectively be in level 1 of the levels system, allowing for a further easing of restrictions – and possibly moving to level 0 in late June.”
Further information is available on the 5 local protection levels, or “Tiers”, and a postcode checker to help people find the current restrictions in their area. These protection levels replace all previous restrictions and guidelines, with 0 being the lowest level of restriction, and Tier 4 the strictest, with law preventing travel in or out of Level 3 and 4 local authority areas, except for essential reasons. (Exceptions include: travelling to or from work, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home; travel to school; travel for essential shopping, for yourself or on behalf of a vulnerable person.)
Stay up to date with all COVID-19 restrictions via:
We know that money worries or pressures add to the concerns of individuals and families, including isolation and the impact seen on mental health and physical health.
In order to help people in Falkirk, and help local groups and services support the people they are engaging with, we have pulled together some information and resources available to help maximise income for individuals and families, especially during COVID-19, including sources of financial assistance and debt counselling.
This new page includes information that families and individuals can access themselves as well as stakeholder and partner resources.
To read the full list, please visit the new Maximising Income page.
Our team and our partners have contacted community food providers throughout the Falkirk area, and confirmed which will be open and providing food (and emergency food parcels) during the January 2021 lockdown.
The list is organised alphabetically on our local directory; please share with anyone and anywhere you think people may need it this winter.
To access this list, please visit our local directory (linked for your convenience).
- Local Pharmacies
Our team has contacted local pharmacies across the Falkirk area (including those in more rural or widespread areas) and confirmed their opening hours during this period, which we have published on our local directory.
The list is organised alphabetically; entries include the pharmacy’s festive opening hours, their address and contact details.
To access this list, please visit our local directory (linked for your convenience).
- Flu Vaccinations in Falkirk
Work being done across Forth Valley to ensure everyone who should receives a flu vaccine. This winter, vaccinations are being held at community locations (eg. Falkirk Town Hall and pharmacies), as well as some GP surgeries as normal, from October 2020 – March 2021, and patients issued an appointment by letter. This is being done in phases based on the patients’ level of priority, and will be a socially distanced experience.
Phase Two began in November, with those aged 60 – 64 years old now be able to get vaccinated, as well as anyone from the high risk groups who were unable to attend their appointment in Phase One for any reason, and households of people previously shielding from COVID-19.
Everyone who is eligible to receive a free flu vaccine will receive an invitation to attend a flu clinic. Letters are being sent out in batches as part of a rolling programme, so not everyone will receive a letter at the same time. The national system used to issue invites uses each person’s name and address as they are held by GPs. Unfortunately, the system is unable to appoint people in accordance to address. This means that occasionally people who live in the same household may receive appointments at different times.
However, if it is more suitable, people from the same household can select one appointment time and attend together.
For further information on the flu vaccination programme (including how to change your appointment), please visit the NHS Forth Valley website.
- Mental Health Support in Falkirk
Our team has pulled together a list of the mental health services available in Falkirk, split into those providing immediate help and those who offer more general support.
The list is available to view or download as a pdf document (linked for your convenience); please share with anyone and anywhere you think people may need it this winter.
Scottish Government has recognised the impact the pandemic and lockdown restrictions has had on people’s mental health and wellbeing. They have created ClearYourHead.scot, a website full of resources, information and reassuring messages to support people in Scotland during this time, including how important it is to take breaks from news and social media.
There is also a Winter Tips page, with information on clearing your head and connecting with others this winter.
The most important thing to remember is that daily life has changed for all of us in Scotland, and it can feel worrying, lonely and uncertain. It’s ok to not feel yourself.
For further information, please visit the ClearYourHead website.
- Men’s Mental Health Resources
As November was men’s mental health month, See Me Scotland has been working to highlight how important it is for anyone who identifies as male or a man to be able to talk about how they feel.
Their recent social media poll found that 39% of men were worried about the reactions of others when talking about their mental health, while 30% said that not knowing who to talk to stopped them from opening up.
Additionally, the number of probable suicides in Scotland has risen for the second year in a row, with the majority of these being men, according to new data from National Records of Scotland.
As a result, See Me Scotland is looking at why talking about men’s mental health is important, and what they, and everyone, can do to help.
Societal expectations and stereotypes around having to be strong and “manly” play a role in why men are less likely to talk about their mental health, or seek help for their mental health problems.
See Me Scotland has a series of resources, information and links to help combat this stigma, including myths around men’s mental health, and where to seek help.
For further information, please view the full web article.
We know people often like to give to good causes at this time of year, and this year, like many other sectors, the third sector in Falkirk (and across Scotland) has struggled as funding opportunities decreased while demand for their services rose due to COVID-19, and after many of their regular fundraising activities have been cancelled as a result of the pandemic.
Below, we’ve put together a list of third sector groups and organisations who operate in Falkirk who are looking for donations.
You can also donate at any time to any of the local food providers .
We’ve created a page specifically featuring support available for carers in Falkirk during COVID-19, including vaccination updates and dates of information sessions.
To view the full list, please visit the dedicated Support for Carers During COVID-19 page.
Unpaid carers (including young carers and young adult carers) who are looking for support can contact the Falkirk and Clackmannanshire Carers Centre:
While guidance is still to remain stay at home during the festive season, we realise that people may be travelling during this time, in order to form festive bubbles, for healthcare, to volunteer (including delivering food parcels and other essentials) or to care for vulnerable people (all allowed in Tiers 3 and 4).
Anyone travelling by car at all during the winter months should make sure they are prepared for a breakdown; the AA has an online checklist on how to build your own winter survival kit for your car. They have also provided tips on driving safely in snow and ice, which may be especially useful for those living in the more rural areas of Falkirk, and other winter driving advice.
The winter survival checklist split into two sections: Winter Car Essentials and Winter Car Emergency Kit.
Winter Car Essentials
- ice scraper and de-icer (if you don’t remove snow and ice properly, you risk 3 points on your licence and a £100 fine)
- torch and spare batteries
- a fully charged mobile phone
- an in-car phone charger or power pack
- sat-nav or a printed route for an unfamiliar journey
- a road atlas
- first aid kit
- empty fuel can
Winter Car Emergency Kit
- warm clothes and waterproofs
- sturdy footwear
- a flask of hot drink
- hi-vis jacket
- warning triangles
- jump leads
For further information (including where to access these items), please visit the AA website.
If you or any member of your family need to isolate due to exposure to COVID-19, or have been advised to shield, there is support in place in Falkirk:
- Support for People helpline (Falkirk Council)
- open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm by phone: 0808 100 3161
- the team assists those who are most vulnerable in society as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including those who need help to access food, medicines/prescriptions and other essential services. This will be prioritised for those who have no other way to access these
- Self-Isolation Support Team (Falkirk Council)
- working alongside the existing Support for People helpline to provide support to those who need to self-isolate, with daily updates from Public Health Scotland’s Test and Protect, of people within the Falkirk Council area who have either tested positive for COVID-19, or been identified as a close contact of a positive test
- the team contact people on the list, by phone, to check they have support in place to allow them to self-isolate correctly and to check if they are eligible for the £500 self-isolation support grant
If you would like to help us build this page or make us aware of anything you know going on, please contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can add your group or organisation’s details to our new online directory of local initiatives (including food banks and other services responding to COVID-19), to help people support their local efforts and find the help they need. You can add your details via the online form (linked for your convenience), or by emailing us.