Services over Christmas and New Year, and tips for staying well this winter

We have created this page to provide you with information and links to a variety of services that are open over the festive period. We have included tips for staying well during winter.

The Stay Well This Winter campaign can help you prepare for winter.

Access to NHS Services during COVID-19 Guide

Sussex NHS Commissioners has produced a guide to support you to access NHS services that are still here for you during COVID-19, which includes helpful information explaining how you may need to access services in a different way to stay safe.

This guide is also available in different languages and British Sign Language (BSL) on request by contacting the Public Involvement team on 01903 708 411.

You can find more information on getting the care and treatment you need here.


If you need help over the winter, call 111 or visit NHS 111 online. It’s free to call from landlines and mobiles and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

NHS 111 is a non-emergency service you can use if you are unsure of which healthcare service you need to visit. It can connect you to healthcare professionals, including nurses, emergency dentists or GPs.

The advisors at NHS111 can also arrange face-to-face appointments, and if assessed as needing an ambulance, send one directly. A call back by a clinician can also be requested using NHS111 online, based on health care need.

More information about NHS 11 can be found on this Healthwatch webpage


If you start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious, get help from your pharmacist. The sooner you get advice the better – pharmacists are here to help you stay well this winter.

Need to find a pharmacy over the festive period? Why not use the NHS pharmacy finder to find your closet store.

For details of pharmacies that are open over the festive period please click here.

Most pharmacies will be closed on Christmas Day (25 December), Bank Holiday Monday (28 December) and New Year’s Day (1 January 2021) over the Christmas period. ​As Boxing Day falls on a Saturday this year Monday 28 December is the substitute Bank holiday. The majority of the pharmacies in the Sussex and Surrey will be open on Saturday 26 December, although please note that their opening times may vary to their normal Saturday opening hours. 

Stock up

If you have been prescribed antibiotics or other medication, do not forget to pick up your prescription before the Christmas holidays start. Many GPs and pharmacies will close over the holidays. It is also a good idea to have a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home to help you with pain relief and minor injuries.

You can now use several apps and websites to order online.

You, or a friend or relative, can then collect your medicines from a pharmacy or have them delivered to your home (where available). This useful poster lists key pieces of information for people who are picking-up medicines from a pharmacy on behalf of someone else.

Get your flu jab

Flu is potentially a very serious illness, people might think that flu is just a cough or cold, but it can develop into a very significant illness; particularly in patients most at risk.

The flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself, and anyone you care for, from flu. NHS services across Sussex have been working hard together to prepare for the winter season.

Children can receive their vaccination as a nasal spray instead of a needle injection. Adults can get the vaccine via their GP, or, alternatively, at many local pharmacies.

More information about flu can be found on this Healthwatch webpage


For support with food shopping, money, and work, COVID-19 testing, and more please visit:  

Ageing Well have produced a Christmas Directory for the period of 21 December – 3rd January. This includes opening times of important services (help with food, community services, wellbeing and support) and options for entertainment. This is being updated regularly and can be accessed here:

Ageing Well also produce weekly guide to services during the COVID-19 pandemic

Find out about services that can help with specific issues, like mental health support, and what to do if you can’t get food, medicines, or are lonely and isolated, on your council’s website:

Brighton and Hove Community Hubs

Brighton and Hove Community Support Telephone: 01273 293117 

NHS Volunteer Responders are also still providing vital support to people vulnerable to COVID-19 and this will continue until at least March 2021. The scheme continues to accept new referrals, and volunteers are ready to provide vital support to those who meet the criteria. You can contact the NHS Volunteer Responder Service online or call on 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm seven days a week

Keep warm 

It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors – as it can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes pneumonia and depression. Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F); if you can, you might prefer your living room to be slightly warmer. 

Looking after your physical health this winter 

The cold weather, being stuck at home and all the tempting food around the festive season can play havoc with our physical health so it’s important to take steps to stay active and healthy this winter.

Here are some national resources to help you stay physically healthy this winter:  

Looking after your Mental Health 

For advice on staying active indoors & looking after your mental health please visit our webpage.

If you are finding things hard this Christmas, you are not alone – use the details below to access support:

  • Sussex Mental Healthline is there to offer support and point you in the right direction about where to get help should you need it. The number is 0800 0308 500.
  • The Samaritans provide help and support to people in a crisis 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact them by phone on 116 123 or visit
  • Mind offer a wide range of information including details of local contacts and support groups. Call 0300 123 3393 or visit

Stay well while self-isolating

If you are showing symptoms or have the virus, you will be required to self-isolate and stay away from other people. This may seem like a daunting prospect, but keep in mind that this is only temporary. It is important to create a daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself, such as catching up on sleep. There are still many ways to stay connected to the people who matter to you, digitally, or on the phone.  If you need ideas about how to support your wellbeing, Mind, the mental health charity, have put together practical tips to help you. 

Coping with loneliness and isolation 

The winter and festive season can be particularly challenging for those living alone. Isolation and loneliness can have a real impact on mental health, as well as physical health, for those who are unable to leave home.  During the pandemic it is possible to set up a support bubble to help with the problems which isolation can bring.

There are also many resources, help and support available here.  

Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove

Festive opening times Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove
24 December - 9.30-12.30, 1.30-3.00
25 December - 04 January Closed
04 January - 9.30-12.30, 1.30-3.30

Call Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove on 08082 78 78 15

Or email through their website at:

Additional resources

There has been much in the news about potential coronavirus vaccines – for the latest information check out our web page.

You can also visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page information on the latest situation, and links to further advice and information.

Community Works have created a webpage which contains contains information on additional services that are open over the festive period.

The information on this page explains how you may need to access services in a different way to stay safe. This includes information on NHS symptoms checker, self-care, GPs, Dentists, and emergency help. If you need this information in another language or BSL, please get in touch.

Sussex NHS Commissioners has produced a guide to support you to access NHS services that are still here for you during COVID-19, which includes helpful information explaining how you may need to access services in a different way to stay safe. This guide is also available in different languages and British Sign Language (BSL) on request by contacting the Public Involvement team on 01903 708 411.

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