Coronavirus update from your local councillorsMarch 25th, 2020
Please find below a range of information about the Coronavirus response in Bristol that we hope will be helpful. We usually send out e-newsletters no more than a few times per year, however in light of the fast changing situation we may send them out more frequently to keep you updated. If you have any questions not answered here, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Cllr Fi Hance: [email protected]
Cllr Martin Fodor: [email protected]
Latest Government information
the advice from Government is changing on a daily basis, so please do check for updates on reliable sources such as the BBC.
If you have any queries about how the latest restrictions my affect your particular situation then please do let us know and we will try to find out for you.
Pubs, clubs, gyms, cinemas and theatres should now have all closed, and restaurants and cafes should only be providing takeaway or delivery. Parks facilities and toilets have also now been cloeed.
The Council have a new website page with up-to-date information on the virus: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/coronavirus. If you can’t find the information you are looking for an email address has been set up to answer questions people might have at [email protected]
Key Workers and school closures
A list of ‘key workers’ whose children are exempt from school closures has been provided by the government. You can find it here.
It is not compulsory for key workers’ children to attend. If they are old enough to look after themselves or can be with their other parent, it is better to keep them at home to prevent the spread of the virus.
We understand that in the meantime the Government will not go ahead with primary school assessments or secondary exams this summer, and will not publish performance tables.
Other closures and changes to council services
Bristol’s libraries and museums will be closed until 1 May 2020. However if you have the ‘Libby’ app you can download ebooks using your library card. To do this simply download the app – find your library – enter your library card – borrow a title and start reading.
Information about changes to other council services:
- Register Office https://www.bristol.gov.uk/crime-emergencies/changes-to-register-office-services-due-to-coronavirus
- Funeral services https://www.bristol.gov.uk/births-deaths-marriages/coronavirus-covid-19-and-funeral-services
- Citizen Service Point will be only be handling emergency cases until further notice. Essential services will continue and non-essential services will be available online or by phone. https://www.bristol.gov.uk/contact/citizen-service-point
First Bus are moving to a Saturday service from Monday 23 March with services under continual review. Rail services are also going to be reduced from Monday 23 March. Timetables are being updated and will be published here for GWR and here for First Bus.
Please do not put used tissues or other contaminated items in your recycling boxes, as this risks infecting our critical refuse workers. Instead please double bag tissues, cleaning wipes, etc and keep them separate from other waste – the advice is to leave it for 72 hours before putting it in the black wheelie bin.
Number of cases
Up to date information on the latest number of coronavirus cases in the UK and for local authorities like Bristol can be found online at this dashboard.
A mapping project to create open data on the number of people self-isolating and having symptoms of coronavirus has been set up – you can add your details to the project here.
What can you do?
If you know a vulnerable person who might not be accessing services email [email protected] or email one of your councillors.
Given the panic shopping taking place and the rise in unemployment, food banks may be more in need than ever of donations. The Trussel Trust organises a national network of food banks, including eight in Bristol – you can donate to support them here.
The Quartet Community foundation supports small charities and community associations – you can donate to them here.
Lots of people are signing up to volunteer to help out during the pandemic. Bristol Council is helping the voluntary sector with coordinating the response and you can sign up to volunteer here.
Please bear in mind that some volunteering work, e.g. door knocking and leafleting, could involve a risk of spreading the virus if proper precautions aren’t taken. The Council is currently working on guidance for the public about how to volunteer safely, with messages about safeguarding and infection prevention.
Looking after children while self-isolating
As the schools have closed and people are self-isolating with their families a lot of parents will be faced with weeks of trying to educate and entertain bored children. Schools will be providing suggestions, but here’s a list of learning resources for keeping children (and adults) entertained:
For adults and children (mixture of educational and just fun!):
There is also this useful list of activities to try with school-aged children
https://www.senecalearning.com is an online platform from KS2-A level, with information and questions to help revision. They also have youtube videos and podcasts.
https://www.twinkl.co.uk/ is a website of teaching resources. It’s usually subscription only, but currently they have a free offer with the code UKTWINKLHELPS. They have specific home learning packs for many year groups.
https://www.khanacademy.org/ has loads of free resources and daily schedules
http://Youtube.com has quite a few videos and channels specifically for students. Two good ones for science are freesciencelessons and fuseschool.
Support for small businesses
Do you run a small business? If you’re worried about the impact the coronavirus shutdown will have on you, the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has opened for applications. Find out more and details of how to apply: https://bit.ly/2Uq9BCs
You can also find further support here.
The Council’s response
Councillors are being sent daily updates on how the Council is responding to the COVID-19 crisis. At the moment crisis plans are being set in motion and large numbers of staff are being redeployed to tackled the emergency. A hardship scheme is being developed by the Council to support people who need it and we hope to learn more about this in a few days. This will provide information on Council Tax payments and rent for those in council/housing association accommodation.
The Council is also considering the impact of the crisis on all of its other services – for example foster caring (most foster carers are over 60), youth services (including covering a long summer holiday) and identifying vulnerable people who need more help.
Across the city, people are organising in their local areas to help each other during these difficult times. It’s heartening to see such a strong community response and we hope that these new connections will continue after the Coronavirus crisis fades.
New informal community networks are also being formed across the city online. There is now a Facebook group for each postcode area (eg BS7 Covid 19 help and response) and many individual streets have set up a WhatsApp group to check in on each other and help vulnerable neighbours with things like shopping. There are also similar messages and groups using NextDoor with an app which is localised to areas around our ward.
‘Please do bear in mind that these new networks are informal and led by ordinary people not professionals. As such, whilst no doubt 99.9% of the people helping out are genuine, they have no formal vetting procedure or DBS checks so not everyone will have the level of expertise you would expect from charities offering similar support. So please bear this in mind when sharing personal or sensitive information with people you don’t know.
Many companies are continuing to deliver during the crisis and if you would like to continue supporting local businesses as best you can then Good Sixty are continuing to take online orders and deliver from businesses on the Gloucester Road via www.goodsixty.co.uk
The national picture is rapidly changing, with the closure of most UK schools and non-critical businesses such as pubs, cafes and gyms closed from Friday 20 March onwards. The government have also announced a package of measures to support businesses and help cover the wages of employees not working.
The BBC are a good source of the latest information, as is the NHS website. Exercise caution when you see advice from non-official sources.
In the Houses of Parliament our Green Party colleagues have been calling for the government to take bolder action to deal with the crisis. In the House of Lords Baroness Natalie Bennett called for the urgent introduction of a Universal Basic Income, in order to ensure financial protection for all and ensure people are able to self-isolate. You can read more here from co-leader Jonathan Bartley.
Green Party politicians from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also called for a suite of other measures last weekend as part of a ‘Coronavirus solidarity pact’.
Green Group Office
Tel: 0117 353 26155
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