During these times of uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus, those in the electrical trade may find not only their business and work being negatively impacted, but also their mental health. The Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) is keen to outline what support it can provide to industry members. Please read on for our 20th August update.
We understand this is a complex and difficult time for everyone. We are living in a time of great uncertainty and increasing worry about our health and livelihoods. We understand that the effect of COVID-19 on industry and income will be great and we will all be affected. In times of darkness and insecurity we want to let our Industry members know, that we will be here to help you.
The Government’s Fix your Bike Voucher Scheme allows members of the public to receive a voucher worth up to £50 towards the cost of repairing a bicycle.
Registrations for members of the public who want to apply for a voucher are now open on the Energy Saving Trust website. The scheme is open to anyone in England who has an unused cycle in need of a repair. However, as there are a limited number of vouchers available, please consider the needs of others before applying for a voucher and do not delay making planned repairs outside of the scheme should your circumstances allow it. Vouchers can only be used with bike repairers or mechanics that are registered for the scheme in England, and up to two vouchers can be claimed per household.
France, Malta and the Netherlands have been added to the quarantine list
Mental Health Support
- Kindness is instrumental in supporting the self and other, here is a useful guide to learn how to harness and practice kindness - https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week/kindness-matters-guide
- Recent research evidenced a doubling in the experience of adult depression resulting from COVID-19 - https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/aug/18/depression-in-british-adults-doubles-during-coronavirus-crisis?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other. Here are a few tips to help you - https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/think-act-be/202008/5-proven-ways-relieve-covid-related-depression. However, should your symptoms become more severe, persistent, and unmanageable, please seek professional support as soon as possible.
- A lesson learned from the experience of the pandemic is to invest more time into our relationships; relatedness – feeling close and connected is an essential component of our sense of self. Here is a guide to help you improve relationship investment - https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/guide-investing-your-relationships
- We all sometimes engage in a process of catastrophising this thought behaviour is generally fed by anxiety and can result in overwhelming feelings of worry and doubt – watch this short video explaining catastrophising and how to overcome its effects.
- Children and had a short stint back at school and then went on their summer holidays. For parents and children struggling with the return to school, please read these useful tips on how to cope -https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/returning-school-after-lockdown
MoneySavingExpert provides the following information on how to take better care of your finances.
Now open. Second self-employment income support grant. Yet a huge 800k who were eligible didn't claim the first one - check NOW. It's been a tough time for many self-employed people, with many businesses severely affected. But on Monday applications opened for the second and final Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant.
It's capped at £2,190/mth for 3mths, making it a max £6,570 (which is taxable). Bizarrely, that doesn't cover a specific time period; you just get 3mths worth of payments.
To work out the total, you'll get 70% of your average monthly trading profits in the tax years that ended in 2017, 2018 and 2019 (assuming you worked all three) - but only up to the cap above. As it's a grant, you don't need to pay it back.
While your business needs to have been adversely affected by coronavirus since 14 Jul to claim, eligibility is otherwise the same as the first grant - eg, you must have filed a 2018/19 tax return and your avg trading profit must be less than £50,000/yr. Of course, the similar criteria mean sadly many are still excluded.
If you're affected in any way since then, you're due the FULL grant amount based on your earnings - if not, you're due nothing. Unsure whether you're affected? Read Can you declare your business is affected by coronavirus? guide.
This is a great piece of budgeting advice/help from MoneySaving Expert:
Do a proper budget to plan ahead - and work out if you spend more than you earn. With plenty of uncertainty, it's more important than ever to have a firm handle on your spending. Their free budget planner spreadsheet helps you analyse your finances to work out your genuine incomings and outgoings over a year (or other timeframe), which can be an eye-opener. While it requires effort to do it properly, it can transform your approach to spending and saving.
Many have said it's been the kick up the bum they needed to start cutting bills or cutting back. Plus the Demotivator tool shines a light on how much small spends, such as coffees, really cost over a year.
Already struggling and looking for work? Some helping tips:
Looking for work? Make use of support, incl Govt jobseeker site, free training & free dry-cleaning. Here's how...
Govt's GB jobseeker site has job tips & lists 88,000 vacancies. See Job Help.
Claiming benefits? Free training, interview travel expenses, interview clothes etc. You could benefit from the Flexible Support Fund, with grants issued at the discretion of your local Jobcentre.
Some can get a free railcard giving 50% off many tickets. If you're on jobseeker's allowance or job hunting & claiming universal credit, you may qualify. See free railcard.
Got an interview? Get your outfit dry-cleaned free. Timpson offers this perk if you're unemployed. See free dry-cleaning.
Got a small business that's struggling? You can still apply for a bounce back loan of up to £50,000. Small businesses, including limited companies, affected by coronavirus can get £2,000-£50,000 loans. The loans are interest-free and payment-free for the first year and they CAN be used to support your income. As things stand they're available till Nov. Full info, including eligibility and how to apply, in MSE’s Bounce Back Loans guide.
ECA launches apprentice support service, find out more about it here - https://www.eca.co.uk/temporary-secondment
- The charity will consider providing small grants in immediate and urgent need.
- Provide advice to industry individuals regarding financial relief strategies and support services available to them.
- Provide support to employees worried about income, having to work and/or losing their employment.
- Strategies to implement immediately to soften the financial burden i.e. mortgage/rent holiday’s, freezing of gym memberships and others.
- Signposting to other welfare services and charities for support.
- Review of individual welfare benefits, your eligibility and support with the application process were necessary.
- Food vouchers if in immediate and urgent need.
Mental Health Support
- Self-isolation is likely to have a negative impact on our mental health and it is important we remain aware of this and try to buffer against it by putting support strategies in place. The EIC can recommend support strategies to help you cope through this time of isolation.
- Telephone and skype counselling are available to industry members.
- Psychiatric assessments for complex mental health issues are available to industry members.
- Signposting to other mental health support services and online services.
Symptoms, hygiene and self-isolation
- The EIC is recommending that individuals with pre-existing health conditions i.e. undergoing cancer treatment, heart disease, diabetes and others should self-isolated and managers need to be informed as soon as possible if you care for or reside with a family member or person who is deemed as having pre-existing health conditions. The EIC can provide further guidance to you if you feel unsure as to how to communicate this to your employer.
- Hygiene tips and resources
- Managing self-isolation