Coronavirus Support Guide front cover

Coronavirus Support Guide

Young people from all over Leeds have pitched in to help create this guide for getting through self-isolation and keeping your friends and family well during the COVID-19 pandemic. Download the pdf, or read on for useful tips and links.

A guide to support you in these unusual times.

Let's face it – there's nothing good to say about coronavirus (COVID-19).

It's made life difficult for all of us, disrupting our education, messing with our work, and affecting the people we love in all kinds of ways.

This guide offers some ideas to get you through the tough times, keep yourself safe, and protect your family and friends – especially when you need to self-isolate.

A big ask

Staying away from loved ones and being stuck at home for two weeks is a big ask for anyone – especially when you're thinking about the life you could've (and should've) had if it wasn't for this pandemic...

But who knew you could be a hero by lounging on the sofa watching box-sets, save lives by doing yoga on your bedroom floor, or protect your family simply by catching up on coursework.

Staying at home might not make you feel great – but right now, it's just about the most important thing you can do.

Why self-isolate?

The best way to stop the virus spreading is by containing it – and self-isolation is key to achieving this.

If you have mild symptoms, someone else in your house is sick, or you've been told to self-isolate by college or work, it's tempting to ask - would it really matter if I just popped to the shop, met my mates outdoors, or went for a walk?

The answer is - yes, it would.

Doing the right thing is hard, but it's worth it. It might not seem like it makes a big difference, but you're actually protecting your family, your mates, the key workers who are keeping us all going – and lots of people who could get very sick if they get infected.

Up to date information about restrictions for everyone living in Leeds is available at

Five ways to take care of yourself when you're self-isolating

1. Look after your mental health

The COVID-19 pandemic is a new and uncertain time for all of us, so it's no wonder if you feel wobbly or down. But with the right help and support, you can get through this.

Talking through your feelings and finding ways to stay connected can be helpful. If you're struggling and need some support, here are some links to help:

  • Young Minds offers guidance on taking care of yourself while self-isolating; including links to mindfulness apps and mood-boosting advice for using social media.

    Young Minds Crisis Messenger, offers free 24/7 support. If you need urgent help text YM to 85258.
  • MindMate is the Leeds-based mental health website for young people. It offers tips to help you look after your mental health, and information about support available.
  • MindWell is the mental health website for adults in Leeds. It provides quick and easy access to up-to-date information.
  • Teen Connect is a phone/online helpline for 11-18 year-olds in Leeds.
    Call 0808 8001212
    Text 0771 5661559
    OPEN: Mon-Fri 3.30pm–2.00am/ Sat-Sun 6.00pm–2.00am
  • Connect is a phone/online helpline for people aged 18 and over in Leeds.
    Call 0808 8001212
    OPEN: 6pm – 2am

2. Make a Plan

When your normal routine is changed suddenly, it can be stressful.

Have a think about the things you want to do during isolation and plan out your time so you have something to focus on each day – whether it's binge watching a new box-set, catching up on course-work, or setting up a virtual chat with your mates. You could decide on a time to get up each day and set your alarm too!

If you're not self-isolating now, make a plan for how you'll manage if you need to later. If you sort out the basics in advance, you won't have to worry so much.

Be prepared

  • Make sure there are meals in the freezer at home, as well as basics like tinned soup, frozen fruit & veg, and long-life or dairy-free milk.
  • Have a back-up plan for things like dog-walking, and check any prescriptions are up-to-date (including contraception).

3. Learn Something New

This is a perfect time to try new things - no distractions - and there are now even more free courses online.

  • Blurt it Out has lots of ideas for new skills you can learn, from knitting to painting and creative writing classes.
  • Future Learn offers lots of free courses so you can develop new skills with a short course.

4. Get Active

If you feel well, keep moving! Moving more is good for physical and mental health, even if you're stuck indoors.

5. Stay Connected

  • Keeping in touch with friends and family is important, so plan to connect with someone every day. This doesn't always have to be through social media, try ringing people or video calling to have a break from your social feeds.
  • Stay up to date with information, free resources & events with Feel Better, a website which supports young people in Leeds with their health and wellbeing.

And remember – you are making a difference by staying at home.

We're here

Support Available

If you (and the people you live with) need to isolate at home and are struggling to access supplies online or have no family or friends for support, ring the Leeds COVID-19 helpline on 0113 378 1877. There are lots of volunteers who can help with food shopping, collecting medicines, or just a friendly call to check how you are.


If you're worried about money and the effect that self-isolating could have on you and your family's finances, help and advice is available:

  • If you're over 18 and have to self-isolate, you might be entitled to a £500 payment. You can find out more, and apply, via the Leeds City Council website.
  • The Money Advice Service can offer you guidance on financial support and any bursaries available. Read their guide on Financial support for further education. For more personal advice you can contact them directly via their web chat or you can call 0800 138 7777.
  • Leeds MIC (Money Information Centre) offers a range of support, whether you're looking for advice on claiming benefits, accessing emergency food or applying for a low-cost loan.
  • 16-19 Bursary Fund you may be entitled to a bursary to support you with education related costs, like bus travel or buying books. Speak to student services or your tutor to explain more about what you need to do.
  • Citizens Advice Leeds (CAL) provide free, independent and confidential advice and information on a wide range of subjects including benefits, debt, employment and housing. Visit their website or call 0113 223 4400


The Office for Students (OFS) has created a student guide to coronavirus. If you're worried about how coronavirus is affecting you and your education, you can also check out their FAQs.

If you have to self-isolate but don't have access to a laptop or computer:

  • Your education provider might offer a device loan scheme for laptops or other technology - speak to your student services or tutor to see what's available.
  • 100% Digital Leeds offers support for anyone who needs assistance with remote learning, access to devices and internet connectivity.

Support for young carers

If you are a young carer and need support with anything from talking about your caring role or personal advice and guidance then contact Carers Leeds call 01133804300 or email

Self-Isolating Vs Social Distancing

Social Distancing

This is avoiding close contact with anyone you don't live with. One way to remember this is hands, face, space - washing hands regularly, wearing a face covering in enclosed public places and keeping distance from people who aren't in your household when you're out and about.


This is when you don't leave your home, or allow other people into your home (except in an emergency), because you have, or might have, coronavirus (COVID-19). It's also better to avoid close contact with people in your own household too.

You need to self-isolate for 10 days if anyone else in your house has symptoms or a positive test, or if you've been advised to self-isolate after close contact with someone outside your home. If you have COVID-19 yourself, you should self-isolate for at least 10 days.

If you are unsure what you can do then you can find more information on

The lowdown on self-isolation

You need to self-isolate if:

  • you have any COVID-19 symptoms / a new continuous cough / a high temperature/ a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
  • you or someone in your household are waiting for a test result
  • you or someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19
  • you're notified by NHS Test and Trace, the NHS COVID-19 app, or the place where you study or work that you've been in close contact with someone who has the virus.

While you're at school or college, it's easier to keep track of who's been in close contact. So if someone tests positive, the school or college can ask people to self-isolate to stop the virus spreading further.

  • If you or anyone in your house develops any symptoms, it's important to get tested as soon as possible.
  • Everyone in the household should self-isolate as soon as one of you gets symptoms.
  • Only get a test if you have symptoms.

To get tested you can:

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