Coronavirus: what you can do to help during crisis
A queue was forming on Saturday March 21 outside the Henleaze branch of Boots as the distancing restrictions on the number of people in store at any one time were implemented.
While there have been plenty of shelves emptied in supermarkets locally by people keen to stock up with food and supplies, a more positive side has emerged from the Coronavirus crisis. Offers of help have sprung up across Bristol as communities pull together to help each other and the vulnerable through the self-isolation period.
From Westbury Park to Henleaze, Westbury-on-Trym to Stoke Bishop, there are volunteers signing up to help and connecting with their neighbours by putting offers of support through letterboxes.
Messenger apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are being conscripted to connect whole streets worried about how to survive self-isolation and loneliness. Young and old are uniting to help those without and those needing help and support at their time of need.
The Local Government Association says that while the vast majority of concerned residents offering to help the elderly and vulnerable in their neighbourhood are genuine, well-wishers will have the most impact by turning their focus to helping their immediate neighbours or neighbours they already know, making donations to food banks, or appealing to established services in their councils, the NHS or local charities.
Anyone who is stuck without food or medical supplies, or is lonely as a result of their self-isolation and does not have any friends and family or neighbours that they know in the area, should in the first instance contact their council. Bristol City Council has a website with all the information related to the Coronavirus outbreak, including health advice, the council’s response to the outbreak, changes to service and how you can volunteer to help other people. See: www.bristol.gov.uk/crime-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19-what-you-need-to-know
Bristol Libraries and museums have closed temporarily until 1 May 2020. Library fines will be waived so library customers do not need to worry about overdue items or renewals and can safely ignore any reminders which might be issued. Libraries will not be open to accept returned books – please do not leave them on the doorstep as they could be stolen or damaged with no one there to collect them.
Bristol Archives will also be closed, but virtual services will be maintained. Full details can be found at www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/
Places of Worship have been instructed for reasons of safety, there are to be no public services or meetings in church until further notice. The Church in Westbury Park can’t meet for services but the church is open from 9am-5pm every day.
Revd. Emma Langley says: “This is a sad yet sensible development and as the Archbishops say in their letter this means we need to find new ways of being church. You can come in for private prayer - so long as you observe social distancing.
“We remain a collection point for the food bank who are desperately short of everything at the moment - so please do donate as generously as you are able.”