Coronovirus (COVID 19) – what we all need to know
We must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home). If you have to go out stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people. Wash your hands as soon as you get home. Do not meet others, even friends or family as you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
Food parcels and medical help for the most vulnerable
The Government is working with supermarkets to help deliver food parcels to the most vulnerable who are unable to leave their homes. Those in need should register for support on Gov.uk or call 0800 028 8327. This includes help with food, shopping deliveries and additional care that may be needed.
Bristol City Council information
Get help and information from Bristol City Council’s website. This includes information for vulnerable citizens, health advice, financial advice, information for businesses and information on changes to local services.
The We Are Bristol freephone number is 0800 694 0184. This number is to help the city’s most vulnerable citizens, including getting food and other essentials, delivering medical items and arranging follow up support with different organisations. The number is currently operating 8:30am-5:00pm Monday-Friday and 10:00am-2:00pm Saturday and Sunday.
The Bristol City Council email addresses for any Covid-19 enquires that are not answered on the website is firstname.lastname@example.org
Mutual aid groups on Facebook and WhatsApp
Across Bristol people are helping each other by delivering shopping to those stuck indoors, helping with dog-walking or just offering support and companionship remotely. There is a mutual aid Facebook group for Bristol. Once you have joined this, the top post has links to each postcode group (e.g. BS6 group, BS10 group etc), for more local support. Many streets have also set up WhatsApp groups – information on these is available through the Facebook postcode groups.
As well as support through local groups, there are other ways to help by becoming a volunteer. If you would like to volunteer to support others across the city please sign up to Can Do Bristol. Bristol also needs to recruit more care workers to help with this crisis. If you would like to apply to be a care worker you can do so through Proud to Care Bristol. If you would like to give financial assistance to the many charities and organisations supporting people affected by coronavirus across Bristol you can donate to the coronavirus 2020 response fund.
There are worrying reports of increased domestic abuse during the lockdown. Police advice is that if people need to leave their households to seek safety they should do so. Bristol City Council has more information on support for those suffering domestic advice and how to report it.
Council Tax relief
If your financial circumstances have changed and you need help paying your Council Tax you may be able to apply for Bristol City Council’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Or you may be able to reschedule some of your payments to a plan that you can manage. There is information on the Bristol City Council website or you can call the customer services line on 0117 922 2900 for support and advice.
Supporting local businesses
For those who are able to, there are many local businesses who are offering deliveries and need as much support as possible. If you want to support them you can view a map of the independent businesses delivering during the lockdown. Other useful sites include Good Sixty who deliver from dozens of independent businesses by bike, Indie Kitty which enables you to purchase vouchers for future meals to help support your favourite independent food and drink outlets and Bristol Food Union who help signpost to local businesses. Bristol also has a map showing where essential shopping can be picked up.
Mental health in isolation
Public Health England has published guidance on practical steps people can take to look after their mental wellbeing and specific guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak. They have also produced the Every Mind Matters platform which has specific advice on maintaining good mental wellbeing during the current situation.
There are now reduced bus services running across Bristol so make sure that you check the timetable if you have to leave your home for an essential reason. There is also free parking for NHS and care workers across Bristol at many of the car parks that are open.
Libraries in lockdown
Bristol’s libraries may be closed but they have a wide variety of online services that can be accessed from home – ebooks and audiobooks, as well as 1000s of daily newspapers and magazines. There are also online events for children and adults: lunchtime lectures, quizzes and book clubs, and a children’s story time streaming online three afternoons a week. Find out more here and visit the libraries services here.