Letter to families: Christmas visiting

Please see below for our letter to families of people we support about visiting on Christmas day. This letter is for people Dimensions supports in England only. Please download this letter for people Dimensions Cymru supports in Wales.

Download the Easy Read version of the England letter.

21st December 2020

Dear family member,

In my last letter to you dated 9th December I was happy to be able to set out how we planned to facilitate visits over the Christmas period. By making use of rapid ‘lateral flow’ coronavirus tests, we hoped that as many people we support as possible would either be able to visit family members or have family members visit them over the five day window during which restrictions were to be eased.

However, it is with a very heavy heart that I must let you know that our guidance on visits over Christmas has had to change due to the surge in coronavirus cases and the new rules issued by the government in both England and Wales.

All of London and most of the south-east of England has now been placed in ‘Tier 4’ which means that all mixing of households over Christmas has been banned. Other than in exceptional cases, I’m afraid this will mean that no visits will be possible at all in ‘Tier 4’ areas – unless a single family member is able to arrange an outside meeting in a public space.

In the rest of England, three households can still mix indoors but only on Christmas Day and no overnight stays are allowed. The situation in Wales is similar, although only two households are able to mix indoors plus one other single-person household.

It may, therefore, be possible to arrange for your loved one to visit you on Christmas Day other than for those who live in ‘Tier 4’. However, in most cases it won’t be possible for any family member to visit a loved one in one of our services, unless it is a single-person service and you have formed a support bubble with your loved one.

I know this will cause a lot of pain, sadness and frustration. It really isn’t where we should be now, nine months into this pandemic. But I do still firmly believe that things will get better in 2021. The roll-out of the vaccine is continuing at pace and we hope that as many people as possible will take up the vaccine. I would also like to reassure you that we will have adequate numbers of colleagues on duty to support your loved one over Christmas and make it special for them, and we will do all we can to facilitate virtual ways for you to keep in touch with them – such as by Zoom calls, etc.

If you have any questions about Christmas, or have any other questions about how we are supporting your loved one, please liaise with your Locality Manager or contact our helpline for families (open from 9.30am to 1.30pm, Monday to Friday) on 0300 303 9161 or email the team at family.helpline@dimensions-uk.org. The helpline will close from 1.30pm on Wednesday 23rd December and re-open on Tuesday 5th January.

Despite it all, I would like to wish you a peaceful Christmas.

Best wishes,


Steve Scown

Chief Executive


If you have concerns please speak to your locality manager for updates. You may find the following links helpful:

Families page

‘At Home’ resources

Advice, resources and activities

Everybody else, please speak to your usual contact at Dimensions.

If you cannot reach your usual contacts, please complete the contact form here.

This page will be regularly updated.