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Coronavirus – Additional information & advice

21st May 2020


Our Welfare Advice service at WAVE Trauma Centre continues to operate by telephone and email and are available to help you.

We know that this a difficult time for everyone, we are here to provide you with advice, information and assistance on a variety of issues.  You can contact us by telephone or email your local WAVE Centre and a Welfare adviser will contact you. We have added some useful information below.

WAVE Centre Armagh:                                028-37511599      Email:

WAVE Centre Belfast:                                  028-90779922      Email:

WAVE Centre Ballymoney:                         028-27669900      Email:

WAVE Centre Omagh:                                 028-82252522      Email:

WAVE Centre Derry/Londonderry            028-71266655      Email:

 The Victims and Survivors Service (VSS) have produced some helpful information at this time with details on when those eligible for Self Directed Payments will be paid.  Please click on the link below for further information.
Assistance from the Victims and Survivors Service

The Health and Wellbeing Caseworkers at WAVE will be happy to advise you on ways they can offer practical help and assistance at this time.  If you are experiencing financial hardship at this time, please get in touch with the Welfare Advice Team at WAVE Trauma Centre.

COVID-19 & Free School Meals

As a result of school closures due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Minister for Education and Minister for Communities have agreed to make payment to families who have been assessed as eligible for free school meals.

Families will receive £2.70 per child per day for each day of term the schools are closed.  This money will be paid to families on a fortnightly basis.

A direct payments scheme will ensure families eligible for free school meals will receive direct payments into bank accounts during the period of term time school closures.  Payments will be issued in the same way they are for uniform grants. The Education Authority already holds the bank details for the majority of those in receipt of free school meals so there is no need for anyone to apply.  If you need to update your bank details or if you do not have a bank account, you can obtain further information from the Educations Authority website:

If you need advice and assistance on this issue, please contact our Welfare Advice team.


Domestic rates in Northern Ireland will be frozen in 2020/2021 to assist households during the coronavirus outbreak.  Household rates billed will be delayed with the first bills to be issued in June 2020.

Housing support

Struggling to pay your rent?  Please contact our Welfare Advice Team for further advice and support.

Measures have been put in place to support social and private renters as well as those experiencing homelessness.

An agreement is in place with all social housing landlords (Housing Executive and Housing Associations) that any social housing tenant facing difficulties paying rent during the Covid-19 pandemic will not be evicted.

Housing Executive rent increase put on hold due to Covid-19

The Housing Executive’s rent increase of 2.7% that was due to come into effect on 6 April will now not come into effect until 1 October 2020. Ministers had previously approved the increase, which is the first Housing Executive rent increase in five years.  The postponement of the rent increase applies only to Housing Executive tenants.

Housing Executive tenants who are in receipt of Universal Credit are asked to look out for contact from the Housing Executive to help them ensure their payments are accurate.

The Housing Executive and Housing Associations had agreed that, where their tenants are facing difficulties paying rent during Covid-19, they will not be evicted.

Home deliveries from supermarkets for those shielding

If you have been advised by your GP to shield (avoid all face-to-face contact for 12 weeks) because you have a medical condition which makes you extremely vulnerable to Coronavirus (COVID-19) you can register for support with securing an online shopping delivery from one of the large supermarkets.

Asda, Iceland, Sainsbury’s and Tesco have now confirmed they will allocate a proportion of online delivery slots to this group of people: More information here

Online registration available from this link

Local Food delivery

If you require assistance to find suppliers who can deliver locally in your area, please contact your local WAVE Centre

Food Boxes

The delivery of food parcels to those in need, was one of the key strands of the Department of Communities emergency response for those who are in critical need of food and have no other means of accessing it, either through deliveries, or help from family and friends.  For those people who still require access to such help contact the COVID Community Helpline on 0808 802 0020.

MOT 1-year Exemption Announced
The Department of Infrastructure has announced that a one-year MOT temporary exemption certificate (TEC) will be processed automatically from Monday 11 May.  Owners of all eligible cars, goods vehicles, trailers and motorcycles, will no longer have to book and pay for an MOT appointment in order to get a TEC; more information available here

Support for Parents and Children
Resources to help children with their learning during the school closures are available here

Sure Start Family Support Online
A range of Sure Start programmes have been redesigned and are being presented online or via social media during the COVID-19 lock down; for further information, go to

24-hour Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline:

This is open to women and men affected by domestic abuse or violence, 24/7, 365 days a year; Freephone 0808-802-1414 or email

Guidance on Vulnerable Children and Young People
Guidance on vulnerable children and young people during the COVID-19 crisis can be found at this link

Coronavirus & impact on Health and social care services

As a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a number of changes have been made to the way many health and social care services are delivered to meet social distancing regulations and to prevent the spread of infection. This includes GPs, community pharmacies, dentists and opticians.  More information can be found here:

Guidance on dental treatment during the Coronavirus pandemic

Dentist have cancelled all routine and non-urgent appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you require urgent dental treatment, contact your local dental surgery, they will triage your call and offer you what is known as the 3 A’s: Advice; Analgesia and Antibiotics. Once you are assessed you, and made a provisional diagnosis, they may need to refer you to one of the urgent dental care centres which have recently been established across N Ireland.  They will provide urgent and emergency care to those who need it.  Appropriate PPE will be used to ensure the patient and dental teams are kept as safe as possible.  The Centres work on an appointment only basis and you can only be referred by your dentist to access the service.  More information can be found at:

People with Signs of Cancer Urged to Contact GP
Anybody with symptoms or signs of cancer is urged to contact their GP, regardless of the lock down, and they’ll be assessed separately; watch this video for more information

Postal services & deliveries

Information about the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) to postal services in Northern Ireland, including the latest information about Post Office branches, Royal Mail, DPD, Yodel, Hermes, DHL and UPS can be found on the website of the Consumer Council in N Ireland:

Helpful websites to check out during the coronavirus

NI Direct has a COVID-19 webpage with up-to-date information on a range of issues relating to the crisis.  Visit




                                                                   Information correct when last updated 12/05/2020