School closures and Coronavirus lockdown – how will all of this affect my finances?
Written by Lizzie Marlow on 31 March 2020
The Coronavirus is causing changes to our daily lives. It’s hard to know how lockdown, school closures and changing working environments will affect our finances.
One thing is for sure though, in all this uncertainty, our communities are really pulling together to offer free support and resources to support people. Here’s our roundup of what’s available for children and adults alike.
Free resources during the Coronavirus lockdown
What can we do now schools are closed?
Last week, all schools across the UK closed their doors for an unknown amount of time. So, what can children and adults do during these times to stay positive, healthy and learn?
Free school meals – If your child receives free school meals, then don’t panic. Schools are being encouraged to keep their kitchens open so they can continue to distribute free school meals. Where that isn’t possible, the government is planning a voucher scheme to make sure that children don’t go hungry.
Lesson plans – Twinkl is the trusted home of teacher-accredited planning and assessment materials and teaching resources. Its Coronavirus Home Learning Support Page offers free resources across a range of key stages and is well worth checking out.
Reading – Audible is streaming hundreds of children’s books for free during school closures. The global producer of spoken audio resources is offering hundreds of kid’s audiobooks for free. You don’t even need to be a member to listen.
Languages – Rosetta Stone is urging us to ‘avoid cabin fever’ by offering free three-month language course for kids. These courses usually cost around £50 and the courses include French, German and Spanish.
How can we keep our minds and bodies healthy?
It’s not only our children’s routines that have changed. Adults are also on lockdown – only being permitted to leave the house for a daily form of exercise, to get food or medicine, or go to work if they are a key worker. Here are our top picks of free activities to add into your new daily routines.
Daily PE lessons – Joe Wicks has quickly taken on the role of delivering daily PE lessons on his YouTube channel. Children and their parents can tune into the workout at 9am every day. If you’ve missed any, they’re all on YouTube for you to catch up.
Healthy cooking – Jamie Oliver is sorting out our dinners with Keep Cooking and Carry On. This daily show started on Monday 23 March at 17.30 on Channel 4. Jamie Oliver is teaching us how to properly look after our nutrition from our homes in lock down. He’s making his recipes versatile, so if you don’t have every ingredient on the list then it doesn’t matter and has shown us how to make pasta from just flour and water!
Meditation and mindfulness – Headspace and Calm are two popular apps to practice and learn calming techniques. They are both worth checking out for their free trials and content to help cope with understandable stress and anxiety right now.
Keeping it local – If you usually attend a gym class, yoga session or other group – then it’s worth getting in touch to find out if they are offering any remote sessions. With so many free apps available, it seems that lots of small businesses are getting involved in virtual classes to so don’t overlook them.
What are the best ways to keep in touch?
Aside from keeping our own minds and bodies healthy, it’s important that we also stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues.
Zoom – This video conferencing app has two key defining features. You can ‘touch up’ your appearance and layer a background over your actual background! The latter especially can help the people your talking to focus on what you are saying, rather than what’s going on behind you.
WhatsApp – You may not be aware, but you can call up to four people on WhatsApp’s group call. This messaging platform is also a great way to share photos, links and messages with family, friends and work colleagues.
Anything else I should be doing?
The number one way that you can help right now is to stay at home and follow the government advice.
Finances – At PayPlan, we’re scouring the news every day to find out how the government updates could impact your finances. Our Coronavirus Hub is being updated daily so is worth checking out. If you are worried, please take a look at our information or you can speak to an adviser on Live Chat or by calling our helpline.
The NHS Volunteer campaign – This new initiative looks to help the 1.5 million Britons with underlying medical conditions who have been asked to stay at home for the next 12 months. You can become a volunteer for your local community – find out more or join the NHS Volunteer responders today.
COVID-19 research – Finally, UK researchers have launched an app to help track the spread of COVID-19 and explore who is most at risk from the disease in an attempt to better understand the pandemic. The free C-19 COVID Symptom Tracker app asks users to fill in data including age, sex and postcode as well as questions on existing medical conditions such as heart disease, asthma and diabetes. Users will be asked whether they take drugs such as immunosuppressants or ibuprofen, and whether they use wheelchairs.
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