SUPPORT bubbles have provided a crucial lifeline to Swindonians during lockdown.

The government is mulling tougher restrictions which could see meeting people in these bubbles being limited to indoor-only occasions and outside activities like a walk in the park or shopping together being banned.

After initially refusing to rule out that they would be scrapped, health secretary Matt Hancock later reassured people that support bubbles would still be allowed.
Relieved Adver readers revealed how vital the small support links are to them and their loved ones.

Hayley Shevonne said: “I care for my mum but I also bubble with a family who live in my street. Without them, I don’t know what I’d have done these past months.

“This situation is just ridiculous and I won’t give up my bubble or stop seeing my mum for anyone.”

Gemma Munson added: “My husband and I created a support bubble with my mum and sister, who lives with mum, after my dad suddenly passed away at the end of November.

“We need each other so much at the moment and need to be able to see each other. We are the only people each other see and would be devastated if that was taken away.”
Sophie Watson said: “My dad has dementia and my mum is his full-time carer.

“The fact I can go there and drop off their shopping and put it away while giving my mum some normal face to face conversation means a lot to her as I know she’s struggling.”

Laura Jayne said: “Mental health would get worse without the support there to help them. Elderly and those with other illnesses like dementia need people around them, let alone those who are now alone due to losing there loved ones.”

Claire Shell asked: “Can you imagine the suicide rate if the vulnerable can’t get the support they need?”

It is illegal to leave home without a reasonable excuse and people that don’t have one risk being fined £200 by police for a first offence – an amount which doubles for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

Visiting someone in your support bubble is considered a reasonable excuse.
In England, single adults living alone, or single parents with children who are under 18, can form a support bubble with one other household of any size and can include people who may be shielding.

People in a bubble can stay overnight in each other’s homes and social distancing is optional. 

Support bubbles cannot be changed without isolating from the previous bubble for 10 days before starting the new one.

Anyone in the bubble contacted as part of England’s test and trace programme must stay at home. If they develop coronavirus symptoms, everyone in the bubble must self-isolate.

The government expanded the eligibility of support bubbles in England in December to help families with very young children or people with continuous care needs.