January Update – Advice And Support From The Trust

Gov.uk coronavirus message Jan 2021January Update - Advice And Support From The Trust For All Beneficiaries

Happy and Healthy New Year to you all

Yes, even though we are back in lockdown and the news is full of scary numbers, all of us here at the Trust wish all of you health and happiness in 2021.

It is more important than ever to follow your Government’s Coronavirus guidance to the letter and stay safe, as difficult as that feels right now with the long winter nights. We know many of you are missing the holidays and winter breaks that give you important respite from the cold weather and help make your pain and mood so much better. It is important to get out into the daylight for some exercise very day, even a brief lunchtime walk can be beneficial - and don’t forget your vitamin D.

Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD)

When you are indoors, try to sit near a window in natural daylight and some beneficiaries are trying Light Box therapy with SAD lights to help too.

This involves sitting by a special lamp called a light box, usually for around 30 minutes to an hour each morning. Light boxes come in a variety of designs and produce a very bright light. The intensity of the light is measured in lux – the higher lux, the brighter the light. The light produced by the light box simulates the sunlight that's missing during the darker winter months. It's thought the light may improve low mood by encouraging your brain to reduce the production of melatonin (a hormone that makes you sleepy) and increase the production of serotonin (a hormone that affects your mood).

Sunrise alarm clocks, which gradually light up your bedroom as you wake up, may also be useful for some people.

Duronic SAD LightLight boxes are not usually available on the NHS, so you'll need to buy one yourself if you want to try light therapy. Before using a light box, you should check the manufacturer's information and instructions regarding:

  • whether the product is suitable for treating SAD
  • the light intensity you should be using
  • the recommended length of time you need to use the light

Make sure that you choose a light box that is medically approved for the treatment of SAD and produced by a fully certified manufacturer. For example – this medically certified SAD light box by Duronic (£65)

Moving More in 2021 - Join our challenge

It's important to keep our bodies moving even though we are all spending more time at home. We want to encourage you to Move More this year as it has such positive effects on wellbeing. Will you consider signing up to move just 30 minutes a day more this year which will add up to a whole extra week of movement throughout the year?

We aren’t talking full on circuits, just adding in more everyday functional activity through out your day. That could be gardening, emptying the washing machine, or getting out around the block.

You can find out more on our Move More Challenge page and let us know you are getting involved on the website forum.

Government Guidance

All countries in the UK are currently in lockdown, although the rules may vary slightly. Find the latest guidance for where you live:
Northern Ireland

Covid-19 Vaccines Update

coronavirus vaccineWe have had several enquiries about the vaccine and whether beneficiaries will be considered a priority for vaccination. We are talking to the Department of Health & Social Care about this, but for the time being you will need to meet the existing criteria for priority groups agreed by the Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination & Immunisation (JCVI) to be considered for an early vaccine.

If you have a carer provided by a care agency or your local authority, they will be prioritised for the vaccine - as a front-line health and social care worker - on the basis of a letter from their employer. If you directly employ carer(s) or have a family member who is your primary carer, we can provide a letter of support to help them be recognised as a front-line health and social care worker and so get priority access to the vaccine. Just contact us to ask for a copy of the letter on 01480 474074 or email.

Read our updated Vaccine Q&A with more information on both these points.

Supermarket Shopping

Supermarkets have recently announced that they are tightening up their approach to enforcing the wearing of masks in their stores, unless you are medically exempt. The Trust can provide a letter to confirm that you are exempt and we can also confirm in the same letter that you need someone with you when you shop, as some supermarkets are asking people to shop alone.

We also still have priority codes available for online shopping slots at Iceland supermarket if you need one.

For blind or partially sighted beneficiaries in England, priority supermarket shopping slots are available through the RNIB.
Call the RNIB helpline on 0303 123 9999.
Read more about their campaign.

Brew Monday – join in and stay connected.

For human beings, having good friendships, relationships and social connections play an important part in looking after our wellbeing. With self-isolation and social-distancing measures in place, we can really start to feel the loss of human contact. This can have a really negative impact on our mood. So in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we stay connected.

the Samaritan's Brew Monday

The Samaritan’s have turned the third Monday in January (often referred to by the media as Blue Monday, the lowest low point of the year) into a positive day called Brew Monday. They're encouraging people to get together over a warming cuppa.

We'll be holding our own Brew Monday event for beneficiaries online on Monday 18th January at 11 am. We would love you to get involved.

You might not have attended an online virtual event before and might wonder what it is all about. Be assured, there is always a warm welcome for attendees from the host (who is one of our beneficiaries) and an opportunity to introduce yourself to the group.

Zoom appThe event is taking place on Zoom, which is an online video conferencing facility that can be used on a phone, tablet or computer. If you haven’t used Zoom before contact us on the office number 01480 474074 and we’ll help you get up and running.

If you're already set up on Zoom - join the Brew Monday event via this link:

or use

Meeting ID : 822 8953 3509
Passcode : cuppa

Please drop us an email to let us know you are coming.

Join our beneficiary online group Positively Connected

We have lots of other events coming up soon and you are welcome to join in at anytime.

  • Virtual Coffee Break  – Mon 18th Jan / 1st Feb / 15th Feb 15:30
  • Virtual Coffee Break – Every Tuesday 14:30
  • Creative Hub  – Every Wednesday alternate weeks at 10:30 / 15:00
  • Stretch and Relax movement session – Every Thursday until 11th Feb 9am
  • Virtual Coffee Break – Friday 5th / 19th Feb 10:30
  • Football Focus – Fortnightly Tuesday’s 19:00 (19th Feb)
  • Book Club – Thurs 21st Jan 19:30
  • Indian Cookery – Join in or watch Fri 29th Jan 18:00

Zoom coffee break

If you would like to try one of these events, please contact the Trust for more information or you can request to join Positively Connected, the private beneficiary meetup group.


We are also holding a number of online chats – called “webinars”. These are easy to join by zoom and you can just listen or join in with the conversation and ask questions (which can be submitted in advance). Please contact the office for more information and the Zoom links, 01480 474074 or email.

Upcoming webinars include:

Let’s talk about Death

A facilitated online straightforward and open discussion about death is being held on Friday 5th Feb 2.30 pm.  This session gives space to reflect and talk openly on topics around death.

Life Assurance Q&A

An informal, friendly Q&A session and overview of this important financial product. Hosted by beneficiary Phil Williams on Friday 12th February at 1.30 pm.

Don’t forget our previous coronavirus updates

If you would like to read any of our previous updates again you can find them on the website.

And Finally -  if you know anyone who is not online we will be happy to post out the information to them – just give us a call on 01480 474074.

Katy Sagoe
Director of Health & Wellbeing